Groucho’s Deli to close
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 02:05
While Main Street sandwich shop Groucho’s Deli will be closing on May 18 due to declining sales, city officials said several business owners have expressed interest in filling the available space.
Groucho’s employee and 2011 university graduate Karly Nesson said she’s surprised the store is closing because it has loyal customers and has recently increased its social media marketing by developing Facebook and Twitter accounts. Still, she said it wasn’t enough to keep the restaurant from shutting its doors.
“The brand recognition just isn’t high enough to get people to enter our oddly-shaped building,” Nesson said.
She said she has not noticed a decrease in business and is still busy at work.
“There’s always a good hour where you’re running around,” Nesson said.
On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the 44-seat restaurant had six customers dining within.
Ricky Nietubicz, a city planner and Downtown Newark Partnership administrator, said several interested retail businesses have contacted officials about the property. City officials want to develop more retail locations on Main Street and the restaurant’s location and window space appeal to retailers, according to Nietubicz.
“It’s just a matter of whether the owner of the business and the owner of the property can come to an agreement,” Nietubicz said.
Previously, the spot had been occupied by Quiznos, Village Imports and You’ve Been Framed, which is now located at 209 #1 E. Main Street across from Bike Line.
A You’ve Been Framed representative said the store changed locations because it wasn’t receiving enough business to justify the larger location where Groucho’s now sits.
According to Nesson, the Newark Groucho’s location originally operated as a franchise, but corporate officials stepped in when sales continued to drop. She said the improvements were not enough to keep the business profitable.
Nesson said Groucho’s does not have the brand recognition it does in North Carolina and South Carolina, where the restaurant has been open for more than 60 years. She said establishing a Newark location was risky.
“The owner took a big leap to open one in Delaware,” Nesson said.
The Groucho’s corporate office could not be reached for comment and the Newark store manager was unable to comment.
Junior Abbey Spiezio said she would like to be able to go to Groucho’s more often than she already does.
“I’m very sad to see it go,” Spiezio said.
Newark High School student Andrew Diego, 18, said he and his friends come to Groucho’s several times a month for lunch.
He said they dine at the restaurant for their favorite sandwich, the STP Dipper, which stands for “southern taste perfected” and features roast beef, turkey, Swiss cheese and bacon crumbs on a submarine roll.
Diego said he was sad the restaurant is closing, but that he doesn’t anticipate trouble finding a new spot for lunch.
“There’s still a lot of places to eat on Main Street,” he said.