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Some Midlands restaurants close, others report robust sales as pandemic continues

Drip on Main Street is closing it doors. It's Five Points location will remain open.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — As inflation rates stay high and the effort to keep staff remains a struggle, some restaurants restaurants are fighting to keep their doors open while others report having their best year.

Drip on Main Street has announced it will be closing forever. Owner Sean McCrossin says the labor shortage is the reason he’s had to close.

“Ultimately, the reason we are closing is because we couldn’t maintain the quality of service," McCrossin said. “This is the end of the road.” 

Citing the labor shortage as one of the reasons he had to close, McCrossin said, “We weren’t immune to it. We were caught in the crossroads, and we just had a hard time recovering from that.” 

Drip's Five Points location, however, will remain open.  

RELATED: Inflation hitting wallets at the grocery store

According to the City of Columbia, keeping the Main Street District alive is a priority.  

Columbia City Council Member Joe Taylor says he wants to see a bigger push to get people back working in the hospitality sector. 

“We have to encourage local support of our existing business, and frankly, remove the obstacles that have existed for new ones to open," Taylor said. 

“So many people left the hospitality business in the pandemic. We’re just going to need to take steps, whether it's creating educational opportunities, hospitality schools to rebuild the hospitality industry in the state of south Carolina and in the City of Columbia,” Taylor said.

According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW), unemployment numbers dropped to 85,090 people in January. That's a decrease of 4,377 people from the November 2021 report and a significant decrease of 46,492 over the December 2020 report.

RELATED: SC unemployment claims drop, state sees the highest employment number in history

Meanwhile, over in the Vista, Motor Supply Company Bistro is seeing a huge uptick in sales. Eddie Wales says he's confident Motor Supply could beat the record sales they made in 2019.

“We had a real strong fourth quarter at the end of the year, so I don’t see why we can’t break new records in the years to come.”

John "JP" Powell, who has been living in Five Points for four years, says the city is missing a driving entertainment factor. 

“I haven’t seen any change," Powell said. "The only change I have seen is restaurants and bars closing. It does disappoint me."

Powell suggests community events as way to attract more people to Five Points, in particular. 

“I love social gatherings," Powell said. "Anything that Five Points can do that can sell their product to get people to come outside is always fun for me. That’s what draws me.”

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