The Clinton Inn restaurant will close this Sunday, but only remain shuttered for a few weeks.
That news comes after word that two other local restaurants are experiencing shakeups of their own.
The Ladybug Restaurant has closed permanently, said owner Donnell Lindsay.
One of the oldest dining locations in Laurinburg, Subs ‘n’ Cream, might be changing ownership or going out of business itself, according to reports.
Clinton Inn general manager Lou Blue told the Exchange on Wednesday that the Inn’s ownership had a change of heart earlier in the day after telling its employees last week that the restaurant and its popular “Southern Buffet” would be shutting down for good on Sunday, Sept. 30.
Instead, the restaurant will be closing, but only temporarily to allow for renovations to be done. Blue said that the Clinton Inn restaurant will re-open for business on Oct. 14.
“We’re glad to be able to continue to serve the people, and we’ll be here as long as we can sustain the business,” Blue said.
Blue said the decision to re-open in October rather than shut down entirely was partly due to recent shifts in the local restaurant market.
The announcement will come as a relief to several local civic groups that hold monthly meetings at the Clinton Inn Restaurant, including the Rotary Club and the Scottish Pilot Club.
“For those meetings its a great place and it would be hard for them to find other meeting places … so that is fantastic news that they are not closing,” said Brenda Gilbert, interim president of the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is, however, a very sad thing to lose the Ladybug Restaurant, probably one of our newest restaurants.”
Citing poor sales and high rent, Ladybug owner said that he had been “going over closing in (his) mind for about a month.”
“I felt like we had the best prices and the best food, but we just couldn’t get local support,” said Lindsay, who owns what he says is a successful Ladybug restaurant in Wadesboro.
He also cited Scotland County’s poor economy as a reason the restaurant failed to attract customers.
“People just didn’t have any money in Laurinburg,” he said. “Many people looked like they just left from the unemployment office — they just didn’t have any money.”
Lindsay, who is black, also said he expected to receive more support from the black community in Scotland County.
“But most of my customers were white.”
The Ladybug opened 11 months ago in the building previously occupied by Mac’s Breakfast Anytime, Western Sizzlin’ and Quincy’s.
With a monthly rental expense of $7,000 per month and poor sales, Lindsay said that he decided to “cut my losses and leave.”
While the fate of the Ladybug has been decided, the future of Laurinburg staple Subs ‘n’ Cream remains clouded.
According to manager Christina Webb, the business’s owner is not ready to “put anything in the paper yet.”
“We might have somebody looking at (buying) it,” Webb said. “We don’t know exactly.”
The chamber is also planning a “Shop Local” campaign that, although it will come too late to save the Ladybug, may help other local businesses to find a base of support.
“We have a big campaign coming in November,” Gilbert said. “I think that if people are going out to dinner, they should support our local businesses here, because shopping local is something we should all be about.”