Last Wednesday, August 23 was the final day of business for Pizza Hut in Vandalia.
While several restaurants and businesses have opened and closed in Vandalia during the past decade, this one may be the hardest for Vandalia to recover from if it is not replaced by another business in that location in the near future.
It hurts not necessarily because it is a restaurant that closed.
Vandalia is still blessed to have a locally-owned Dairy Queen that has been here for 40 years and counting. We also still have a Subway and a Chinese restaurant.
But this building, located in the 1800 block of West Highway 54, is the first building you see heading into town from the west and the last building you see coming from the east just before our local school district.
It’s a well-constructed building that shows those passing through the area, that at one time, Vandalia had a national restaurant chain at this location, but the appearance now, whether right or wrong, is there wasn’t enough financial support for it.
Add in a boarded front window after an accident last Thursday and the impression is even uglier now. There are still several other building vacancies in town that includes the old Dinner Bell location, Fire Brick Cafe location, and the former Nancy’s building on the east side of town. There are several others as well.“The Country Cupboard” reportedly has new owners and we’re awaiting word as to when they will re-open that business location.
The former Nancy’s building does give a similar impression on the east side of town but it sits just far enough out of town that the bad impression isn’t nearly as strong.
To have an obvious national franchise restaurant building vacated so close to our school district, this gives Vandalia a black eye that will be difficult to recover from.
My hope is for the city council to make it a priority to lure in a business to fill that building sooner than later.
Not only will be people driving through town on Highway 54 from all over, patrons of other school districts will be visiting Van-Far a lot during the school year and this vacant building will leave a lasting image in their minds.
Here’s hoping something gets done quickly…