CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A business is three weeks away from shutting its doors for good.
“I definitely didn’t see it coming, but businesses come and go,” says Ashley Mills.
Some people were shocked to hear Brixx Wood Fire Pizza is leaving so close to the holidays, but it’s not all bad news. The business wasn’t doing well financially in Central Illinois or the Midwest.
The owners says they’ve been trying for some time to keep it going, but their time was up. However, they wanted to give customers time to use coupons and gift cards and employees time find jobs.
“I thought they had good service. It surprises me that more people didn’t go there,” says Ashley Mills, a friend of the employees.
But it’s not a total surprise for some customers.
“A lot of people don’t like to drive through here because it’s so congested here, but for us it was convenient because we walked across the street,” says customer Michelle Hansens.
Mills has friends who work at Brixx so it’s hard for her to see the pizzeria closing.
“I feel bad for them because the holidays are coming and it’s a rough spot to not have a job when you need to travel,” says Mills.
Convenience wasn’t the only thing keeping some customers around; but it wasn’t enough.
“It’s a successful concept on the East Coast and that’s where it started. It just hasn’t translated well when we started moving to the Midwest and west,” says owner Tom Scaggs.
“You can definitely tell anywhere around town when people kind of start to drift away from something and it’s not as busy as one side of town or any location,” states Mills.
The Carriage Center business was only in Central Illinois for two years.
“A restaurant business is a tough business and they tend to change over on a fairly regular basis,” says Champaign Planning and Development Director Bruce Knight.
There’s no expectationBrixx will have an impact on other businesses in the area.
“That’s an area that developed very rapidly. There’s lots of new businesses that aren’t located anywhere else in the community. It’s inevitable that one or so of those might not work here,” says Knight.
Recently, the business’ customer service scores were high compared to other Brixx locations. That’s why the owners wanted to give employees time to find new jobs.
Scaggs says, “This was one of my dreams to have my own restaurant-bar type situation, so it’s disappointing in that we’re closing and that it’s disappointing for our employees and management team who was spectacular.”
The owners will also have to shut down their Indianapolis location for the same reason. The next hurdle for the them is to find a replacement for Brixx. City officials don’t expect the space to be empty long.
They hope to find another restaurant to replace the pizzeria. They’re open to the idea of other types of businesses taking over the space.