Oak Ridge loses 2 businesses due to bad economy

Oak Ridge loses 2 businesses due to bad economy

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By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - In the past few weeks, two large businesses have closed in Oak Ridge, and officials are working hard to fill the gaps.

The first business to close was Hollywood Video on Illinois Avenue. It happened several weeks ago.

Then on Wednesday, Sagebrush Steakhouse closed its restaurant a few blocks up the road.

Both companies have filed for bankruptcy.

Although the closings make business look bleak, officials say it's not all bad.

"We are probably doing better than most," says Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Parker Hardy. "Nobody is performing in a stellar way."

Hardy says it always hurts to lose retail stores and jobs, but recently, new businesses have move into Oak Ridge. "We've had three new restaurants and a new sporting goods store open."

Officials are already working to fill the vacant buildings.

"We have recently finished taking a team to meet with the International Council of Shopping Centers," says Hardy. "(We) met with shopping center developers, six or seven retailers. We'll spend the better part of the summer following up on the leads we developed there."

Hardy says Oak Ridge's population is growing, and officials hope to see many more grand openings in the near future.

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce leaders are also working on a new redevelopment plan for the Oak Ridge Mall. Currently the mall is 90 percent empty.

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