CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, local businesses are continuing to feel the effect.
Amélie’s French Bakery & Café, a staple in uptown Charlotte, closed its doors for the last time Sunday.
“Place is iconic. We have this big ol' bakery with the wonderful decor, you can see the bakers baking. It’s a big loss," said Amélie’s CEO Frank Reed.
The restaurant’s uptown location joins a growing list of businesses who say they couldn’t survive economic offset from the pandemic.
“Came up here and found out today is the last day. It’s very sad," said Mario Queveeo. “It’s sad to see the businesses go out like that after they’ve been strong for so many years. With the COVID, it’s just disrupted so many people, so many businesses.”
Multiple signs are now taped on the windows of Amélie’s, an unfortunate reminder of the reality that has swept uptown Charlotte. Minutes away in the Epicentre, there are also locked doors and empty restaurants.
A once thriving area has now become a ghost town.
Reed says it’s because of a growing shift in people working remotely.
“This was simply...there is no Uptown workers. When the Uptown workers come back to Uptown, restaurants will again thrive," Reed said.
It’s a sentiment that customers also share.
“Some people just like to walk around and take those breaks. But because no one is up here, it’s hard to keep those businesses going. A lot of people are staying local to where they are and supporting those businesses, so it is a lot harder to do it in Uptown if you’re not here," said Nicole Mitchell.
As the doors close and lights turn off for the last time, there is a growing hope these local businesses will return.
“It’s breaking my heart when I drive through Uptown, I see a lot of businesses closed that I enjoy coming to. It is just breaking my heart, I feel like the whole city is not the same with the businesses closings," said Ann Carter.
Reed says all employees were able to keep their jobs.
They have been placed at Amelie’s other locations in NoDa, Park Road, Carmel Commons, and Rock Hill, which remain open.
Reed added he would love to reopen the Uptown location one day.