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Some Canal District Restaurants Closing – NBC Boston

The business community in Worcester’s Canal District has seen its share of changes including about a half dozen businesses closing their doors in recent months. The latest announcements came from Smokestack Urban Barbecue and Maddi’s Cookery and TapHouse.

Both businesses posted updates to social media, generating a lot of reaction from saddened customers.

Jillian Nanof, who works at Seed to Stem, says hearing of any business moving on is unfortunate.

“Obviously, we’re so sad to see some of our favorite places that we also eat at, we suggest people to eat at close” she said.

“I mean, it’s sad, it really is,” says Julie Sargentelli, who runs the White Eagle Bar & Tavern. “You know, they are our area partners and, you know, we’d like to see people, you know, survive and thrive.”

But while complaints surrounding a lack of parking and rising prices linger, Worcester City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson says some of it comes down to opportunity.

“Some of these folks are selling their businesses. Some of these folks are selling their property,” Mero-Carlson said.

Alexis Kelleher, the owner of BirchTree Bread Company, counters that they’re noticing there are a lot more reasons and factors going into why these businesses are closing.

But parking concerns are one thing being echoed by many in the Massachusetts neighborhood.

“When baseball season is in full swing, obviously there, that leaves even less parking for our customers,” Nanof said.

“It’s metered parking around here and you can’t extend more than two hours,” said Mirna Cazares of El Patron.

Mero-Carlson says they are aware of the issue and that the city is working on finding solutions. She says they have data showing there are well over 200 parking spaces on a daily basis that go unused, noting there are challenges.

“We really need to do a better job marketing where these parking spaces are,” she added.

Nanof says she remains optimistic for the future success of the area.

“Hopefully, once the parking garages go up and are fully functioning here, that will really help,” Nanof added.

The owner of BirchTree Bread Company, which just changed hands six months ago, says despite any challenges, they are seeing success. According to Kelleher, since the new ownership has taken over, the sales that they’ve seen have surpassed the projections that the previous owners had set for 2022.

The businesses who spoke to NBC10 Boston say COVID and inflation have also created many challenges but overall, many are optimistic the area will continue thriving.

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