COVID-19 sinks two local eating establishments

“I can’t break myself just to keep this place open for a few people,” said Brett Dalby, Owner of Bracy's Cafe.

Posted: Nov 13, 2020 7:43 AM
Updated: Nov 23, 2020 4:17 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Mom and pop shops have been fighting to keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the financial hardships have been too much to bear for some. 

Two local St. Joseph eateries have succumbed to their wounds this month: Planet Sub and Bracy's Cafe. 

Both restaurants announced the permanent closures on their Facebook pages over the past week; both citing the coronavirus pandemic as the cause of their closure. 

Owner of St. Joseph Planet Sub, James Knight, said he's lost many nights of sleep over his first business sinking.

After years of working in factories, Knight said he wanted more for himself.

So, he went to school.

Knight graduated Missouri Western State University with his Masters of Business Administration and received his first chance at owning his very own business in October 2019, Planet Sub.

Knight was living the American dream then COVID-19 hit. 

“Our revenue dropped 60%. Just like that,” said James Knight, Owner of St. Joseph Planet Sub. 

But the bills didn't drop. In fact, rent doubled. 

“When that happened, that was kind of the nail in the coffin,” said Knight. 

Knight had to close down his business Sunday, letting 10 employees go.  

“It’s hard right now to be out here for me. I just put so much into it," said Knight, “The thing is, you’re in charge of people’s lives. Those employees depended on this location for their livelihood. We had a mother working here, we had a son that was taking care of his family.”

Bracy's Cafe is no stranger to loss in revenue due to the pandemic either. 

The fan-favorite eatery for cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy and steak tenderloins is closing up shop at the end of November, just after Thanksgiving. 

“I can’t break myself just to keep this place open for a few people,” said Brett Dalby, Owner of Bracy's Cafe. 

Dalby said the drop in customers working in the downtown area has significantly impacted the local cafe. He reports revenue dropped 60-70%. 

“I’m really sad. The mom and pop places aren’t doing well right now,” said Wayne Berton, Customer at Bracy's Cafe.

Loyal customers stopped by the cafe Thursday to get one last taste of their favorite dish. 

Shane McDonald and his wife always order the breakfast stromboli, with gravy, of course.  “We’re not as regular as we’d like to be given the circumstances we’re in right now,” said McDonald. 

Thankfully, Bracy's Cafe isn't saying goodbye forever. They're hitting the road with a food truck after the holidays. 

Two local establishments shut down in a month and unfortunately, owners don't think they'll be the last. 

“I think you’re going to see a lot more little mom and pop shops close up,” said Dalby. 

Knight, owner of Planet Sub, is hoping to open up his beloved sandwich shop in a different location, outside of the North Shoppes, once he gets back on his feet. 

Bracy's Cafe is taking Thanksgiving pie orders until November 19th. 

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We started out across the area with a few clouds around as a disturbance passed to the south of the area. Clouds slowly started to clear by the early afternoon hours. Today temperatures were still be above average, but cooler than yesterday with highs in the upper 50s. Temperatures will be back in the 60s this weekend under mostly sunny skies. Winds will be a bit breezy on Sunday with wind gusts up to 25 mph. Wind will remain fairly breezy through the beginning of next week especially on Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures will stay above average next week with rain chances increasing by mid week.
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