Businesses struggling to stay open in downtown Fort Myers

Reporter: Haley Zarcone
Published: Updated:

Snowbird season is over, traffic is a mess due to the Caloosahatchee Bridge closure, and the new parking system in downtown Fort Myers isn’t exactly perfect.

It’s a recipe for disaster, and some businesses just can’t stomach it.

With fewer people living in the area, restaurants are seeing fewer customers.

After ten years of sushi rolls and cocktails, Blu Sushi is closing its doors.

“I don’t consider this a failure. I just consider there’s an event to several events that just affect everything,” said Richards Arena, Blu Sushi owner. “Based on the events, the hurricane, bridge closing, parking issues, that downtown, the river district does not have the same population as it did before.”

Off-season is a reminder of the lows businesses in downtown can feel.

“We got to fix this because summertime is pretty hard anyway, and everybody has inflation and all these fun things, and they legitimately are not coming down here right now,” said Chad Zollinger, owner of 10 Twenty Five.

For those that are open, come down and walk inside.

“We get it. It’s all tough, but there are times where traffic isn’t bad. Come down at 8 o’clock at night, hang out with us, have a good meal, have a couple of beers. That’s what downtown is all about,” Zollinger said.

June 28 will be the last day this location of Blu Sushi is open. That night, the owner said he wants to have one last hoorah for everyone to say goodbye to their favorite bartenders and servers.

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