TailsSpin, a downtown Macon pet food and accessories store, did not close at the end of December as the owners previously planned.
This week the store owners, Jusak Yang Bernard and Jeff Manley, met with their landlords, Tony Long and Gene Dunwody Jr., and now the business is committed to remain open, they said.
From both sides ... we believe we need to build the retail business here in downtown Macon and to get people to come back to downtown, and we want to be part of that, Bernard said. We are going to try to make this work, and so we want to stay.
Bernard had said in December that he and Manley love the location, but we just cant make it work.
About two years ago, TailsSpin beat out 15 other finalists to win a $50,000 contest to help it launch the business here.
Part of the prize was free rent for a year in their Mulberry Street location.
We just met them and tried to come up with a way to keep them downtown, Long said. We said we will go sit down with folks who can make big decisions, to not only help TailsSpin but all downtown businesses.
We want to start a conversation, with everyone working on a solution in order for downtown to flourish, he said.
Mike Ford, president and CEO of NewTown Macon, said he was happy to hear the business would remain open and that NewTown would continue to support TailsSpin.
I think they just got a little ahead of the curve, Ford said. I think they will be more successful after we fill up the lofts that are under construction, and they have been here long enough to establish a customer base. ... I think it will pay off in the long term.
Long and Dunwody did not agree to lower the pet stores rent, but we indicated we would work with them as much as possible, Long said.
One of the big issues TailsSpin and other downtown retailers struggle with is getting quick turnover in street parking, while the downtown parking garages are under utilized.
Everyone knows that (downtown) employees are parking on the street, Manley said. They are going to look for the convenient spaces.
Now that there are more people living downtown, parking is even more important, especially at night, Long said. He and Dunwody are going to talk with Mayor Robert Reichert and others to try to find a solution.
Bernard said that while he didnt really want to announce the business would close, he was frustrated by the lack of business and a general lack of support, even from people who were supposed to help promote them.
Long said he and Dunwody understood the frustration but asked the owners, Are you really sure in a year and a half you are really giving it a chance? and they agreed they may have been really quick to pull the trigger.
To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.