NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Since December, East Texas News has been reporting about a string of restaurants in Nacogdoches that have closed.
Now there are damaging rumors circulating that more closures can be expected in the future.
The Arby's district manager called to say the locations in Nacogdoches have no intention of closing. A general manager for Smoothie King said they too have had to put rumors of closing to rest.
The talk of the town is all about restaurants. Why is lunch talk in Nacogdoches revolving around where the next lunch spot is?
"We love to dine out," said Cassandra Stokes, a restaurant owner and the vice president of the Nacogdoches Restaurant and Bar Association. "We love to go out to eat."
But restaurant owners, successful or otherwise, acknowledge Nacogdoches is a tough market. Customers demand something new.
"This is no reflection on anybody who is closing or whatever, but if you are still making buggy whips you're not staying current with what's going on in the marketplace," said Judy McDonald, the director of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation.
"If you don't have a fresh perspective in your more mature restaurant people will lose interest in it," Stokes said.
Other factors come into play.
Numerous business trade sites are reporting on the Quizno's chain's financial troubles.
Following our report that the Nacogdoches Quizno's had closed we got an e-mail from a Quizno's franchise owner in Mesa, Arizona.
He wrote, "Corporate does nothing to help or assist you."
A Quizno's corporate spokesperson had told us decisions to close by any of its franchisees is entirely an independent decision.
Location and access are another factor.
There's speculation the franchise restaurants on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus take away sales from off-campus retailers.
"It honestly is way more convenient, like just to have things on campus and you don't always have time or the resources to go off campus," said Treasure Dallas, an SFA student.
Plus the university offers some popular bargains.
"The dine in dollar system that SFA sets up, so it makes it more convenient to pay for the food because it's already added into the tuition," said Tavarren Wade, an SFA student.
Retailers have their offers too. Even the local restaurant association is pushing cash prizes in an "Eat Nac Now" campaign.
Some observers argue there's a lack of disposable income in an oversaturated market. You can't convince stokes of that who will always contend ...
"I truly believe Nacogdoches is an eat-out town," Stokes said. "We need more restaurants."
New and existing business people are encouraged to seek support from the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation. Another valuable resource region wide is the Small Business Service Center at Angelina College.