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Rumors of closing can harm a business
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      Unfortunately, speculation and rumor are the byproduct of uncertain and frightening times. Right now, I think it is fair to say that the rumor mill is running rampant, particularly as it regards local restaurants.
       I know this because in the last few weeks, I have been asked numerous times about the viability of practically every restaurant in town. I have received phone calls from many of you concerned about the prospect of your favorite local eatery shutting its doors. Not only have you been calling me, local restaurateurs say they have been getting calls as well.
       "I honestly don't know where it is coming from," said Barry Turner, co-owner of the Sugar Magnolia Bakery in downtown Statesboro. "I have had several people ask me if we are closing, and nothing is further from the truth."
       Turner said he thinks the rumors may have started because another bakery in downtown closed, and his next door neighbor The French Quarter Cafe recently closed its doors as well.
       "We are actually hanging in there and doing pretty well," Turner said. "But, I can't tell you how many people have called, and how many folks have come up to me and said that they hear we are closing and are sad about that. I tell them that it is absolutely untrue. We feel very blessed that our business has remained strong and steady. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but right now we are doing okay."
       Another local restaurant who has been the victim of recent rumor is Ryans on Highway 80 East. Local managers said they have been getting a number of calls as well.
       "As a chain, we have closed about 77 restaurants over the last year and a half," said Adam Van Horn, senior area manager of Buffets, Inc., the parent company of Ryans. "We are through that process and are moving forward. We have no plans whatsoever to close the Statesboro location."
       Whereas the two stories above give some hope in a gloomy economic situation, one retailer with a local presence has called it quits. It is reported and was confirmed to me by one of the store's employees that the Goody's department store in the Statesboro Mall is closing.
       Apparently, all of the Goody's stores will be closed at some point in the near future. The local store employee who asked to remain anonymous said they had been informed of the store's impending shut down on January 5. She said they were not told the exact date of the store's closing, just that it would be closing soon.
       The expression on her face was heartbreaking, and one that I am afraid will play out again and again as we work through the tough times that lay ahead.
       I am glad that most of the rumors that I have been asked about have been unfounded, at least up until this point. As curious and concerned as folks may be, I urge everyone to be careful about spreading them as I would hate for any unnecessary despair to be brought upon our fellow citizens who are already worried about their jobs.