At Dwight’s Waffle Iron, in Huntington’s West End, they've served up short order meals for 21 years. The owners say continuing corporate chain competition is forcing them to close, putting 16 people out of a work. As one waitress puts it “since they opened Waffle House and we hear a Denny's is coming; Its shutting out the little man.”
Meanwhile in Ashland, The Bluegrass Grill is closing after more than 60 years of service. Owner Randy Cooper says “this is a very hard business.” He hoped his children would continue the bluegrass tradition, but like so many family businesses, his son's going into big oil and his daughter's replacing restaurant work with nursing school.
Chili Willi’s owner, Ron Smith, knows all about the hard work to keep a hometown restaurant open. He fight’s back with his own direct ad mailings. “the bottom line is we have the same assets as a corporate chain, we just don't have the big stock market money behind us.”
Many independent restaurant owners say they get charged more, sometimes much more, for the same case of a bulk food item going to a corporate chain restaurant.