Downtown restaurant Noodles & Company closed Sunday.
“There’s not a lot of foot traffic downtown,” franchisee Megan Swartz said Monday afternoon.
The fast-casual restaurant did well when there were big events downtown, but on a day-to-day basis, there wasn’t enough business to sustain it, she said.
Parking around the restaurant-or lack thereof-was also an issue. People don’t want to walk five blocks to get noodles, and they don’t necessarily want to pay for parking or risk getting a ticket, she said.
The recent changes in metered parking charges also hurt the business, she said. Charges now apply through 6 p.m. instead of until 4:30 p.m., and enforcement recently extended to Saturdays.
Swartz tried to get a valet system going for the block where her business was, but that didn’t work out.
She gave her employees a few days’ notice and has been helping some connect with other job opportunities.
The downtown market, especially between Fourth and Fifth streets, is just difficult, she said.
There’s been a lot of focus on the Southside, she said. And it might have hurt the business that some people didn’t realize she was a local franchisee, she said.
“I’ve tried really hard to show people I’m a local business owner,” she said.
Click here to read an article from when the restaurant opened.
The restaurant did “go out with a bang” with a busy weekend for Head of the Hooch, she said.
And she’s not ruling out the possibility of opening another store somewhere else in Chattanooga.