Sandusky lost a little bit of its history and charm last weekend when Cedar Villa closed its doors after more than 52 years of serving up homemade Italian favorites.
Owners Joel and Amy Cummings, who purchased the restaurant from the Spadaro family two years ago, cited a sluggish economy, rising food costs and numerous unforeseen equipment repairs as reasons for closing.
Gino Spadaro, whose family still owns the building itself and plans to put the Cleveland Road property up for sale, took it one step further by saying Cedar Villa fell victim to lost patronage to franchise businesses along U.S. 250.
While its important to remember that many of those franchise businesses are locally owned and operated, the loss of another independent small business is troubling.
Independent businesses such as Cedar Villa help communities establish an identity and play an important role in local economies. Beloved bookstores, family hardware stores, local grocers and popular watering holes and restaurants all contribute to the very fabric of a community.
Unfortunately, these independents seem to be giving way to the homogenization of the retail landscape, where big box stores and chain restaurants along busy corridors suck the life out of competitors on less traveled paths.
It is important local residents and governments realize the value of keeping such small businesses prosperous. However, it is also important for those businesses to realize the challenges of remaining competitive in a tough economy when consumers have more and more options competing for their hard-earned dollars.
Local loyalty only goes so far. Small businesses to compete with the chains in terms of value, quality and service.