When Ernie's closed in January, owner Amee Simmons didn't want the space staying empty for long. She help line up Jack Brown's Beer and Burger Joint; a local restaurant out of Harrisonburg. Three months later, owner Ian Revereza is hoping to open soon.
"The quicker the better, we do not want to keep doors closed too long, and want provide another offering," says Revereza.
Within the last year several restaurants in Roanoke closed, including Tudors Biscuit World and Horizons. Months later, the spaces remain dark and empty waiting for something to move in. Economic specialist with Downtown Roanoke Inc Price Gutshall works right next to Horizons.
"It is just a matter of time, working out leases, negotiations, kind of uses for the space. There is no concern with what is going on and have a lot of interest," says Gutshall.
Right now Gutshall is working on a comprehensive strategy with the city to fill the store fronts; looking at each space to find the right tenant.
"Help recruit and diversify to fill some of these spaces and we will see growth coming in the future," says Gutshall.
Jack Brown's moving to the area shows growth is happening, and more stores will open rather than close. Reverza says Roanoke was the perfect location compared to other areas they considered.
"Roanoke just kind of jumped out at us. We like the downtown scene, liked how it is very local, bigger city, but small town," says Reverza.
And plan to stay open and not close anytime soon.