Economy woes have curbed Mid-Missourians’ appetites for dining out

Ecco Lounge owner Sally Powell, standing, visits with customers Barb and Sid Belshe during lunchtime last week. The Belshes are regular diners at the restaurant and enjoy visiting with Powell, who tries to talk to each of her customers.

Ecco Lounge owner Sally Powell, standing, visits with customers Barb and Sid Belshe during lunchtime last week. The Belshes are regular diners at the restaurant and enjoy visiting with Powell, who tries to talk to each of her customers. Photo by Julie Smith.

In an economy sluggishly trudging forward after a lackluster second quarter, the most grim consequences of the Great Recession may have faded from the minds of many people. For many restaurant owners whose business is dependent on consumers’ lack of frugality, however, the effects of the recession have had a noticeably long-lasting effect.

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Rachel Gibson, owner of Downtown Diner, watched the plunging economy take a toll on her business only about a year after its inception. Though business has been steady since the middle of last July, Gibson would still like to see ample improvement.

“I didn’t expect the economy to be this way. It gets ripped out from under your feet,” she said.

Citing the economy as the most daunting obstacle for her business, Gibson has offered coupons that were “barely break-even deals” in an effort to entice customers, she said.

“It was good for me and it was good to get them (customers) out to eat. It’s hard to make it at that level of business but you’ve got to,” she said.

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