Lincoln NE (SN) – With the closing of Vega on January 1st, The Railyard is on pace to set the record for most failed businesses in a 5-year span in a one block area.
The Railyard just moved past Crossroads Mall in Omaha for 2nd on the all time list. The Railyard is 4 closings from eclipsing the record of 70 set by the Pripyat People’s Shopping Square in Ukraine, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in 1986.
“Everytime I come here it’s like a totally different place,” says Neil Gartner from Grand Island Nebraska. “I was gonna check out that arcade but it moved I guess.”
Things grew especially dismal for Railyard stalwart Buffalo Wings & Rings, when hundreds of patrons arrived for “wing Tuesday” shortly after the grand opening only to actually pay attention to the restaurant logo for the first time in their lives and discover that the franchise was not a Buffalo Wild Wings. Needless to say, chaos ensued.
Owners claim the rent in the rail yard is “too damn high.” Once you add in maintenance fees, extra security costs, and the price of paying The 402 Band $4,000 every week to perform, it can be tough to turn a profit. To make matters worse there is a giant screen that shows screen savers from Windows Vista at all times day and night. That electrical bill adds up.
The biggest draws to The Railyard are Husker football games, but business owners lament there are just not enough of them. “I wish they could add some home games to the schedule, like, play 50 home games a year or something,” says Brad McKinnon, owner of Gate 25. “That way we would have a chance of staying open for a few more years.”
One holdout is Hiro 88. They have somehow survived by offering good food and good service. “People seem to like coming here,” says bartender Trenton Danielson. “Food is great and we have that boat thing that gets a lot of likes.” Hiro 88 proves it’s not impossible to stay open in The Railyard, but it’s not easy.
As for Gartner, he’s excited to see the new businesses in place when he comes back next fall for football season. “Maybe they will have a tapas bar or something like that? We don’t have tapas in Grand Island. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what tapas is.”
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