Restaurant closures not all bad, Oxford official says - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Restaurant closures not all bad, Oxford official says

By Daniel Hight - bio | email | Facebook

OXFORD, TN (WMC-TV) - Three to four times per week, Oxford resident Ryan Baggett enjoys a variety of dining.

"Blue Ray is pretty good," he said. "If you're going for a little more upscale, Old Venice is good."

But some restaurants in Oxford are struggling.  In fact, 18 closed their doors in 2010.

"You would think that with all these college students in town, it would be able to sustain all of it," Baggett said.

According to Mary-Kathryn Millner with the Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau, the restaurants closed for different reasons. But she noticed a trend.

"For the most part it was places that were new and didn't carve out a strong following," she said.

But Millner says a struggling economy is not the main reason for the closures.

"We gauge by a two percent food and beverage tax," she said.

And revenue from that tax was up by almost 10 percent from the previous year, meaning Oxford residents are spending money and restaurants are competing for it.

"In a town that is relatively small, there are a lot of choices," Millner said.

Baggett, meanwhile, believes when restaurants close, it creates new opportunities.

"It seems like there's always new one's opening up, so its one of those things were you lose some and you get some," he said.

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