EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – When a business closes its doors, it usually never reopens. One business in Downtown Eau Claire shut down for over a year and this week it’s returning.
First News at Nine’s Maria Blough spoke with the Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely as it prepares for its first weekend back.
Cassandra Lueck, Events and Marketing Director for the Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely says no travel meant no guests.
“Deciding to close was a huge decision for us,” said Lueck. “It really came down to the fact that we are an independent boutique hotel in a smaller midwestern community and when the pandemic started, travel just halted.”
With no visitors they had no way of maintaining business and it shut its doors.
Now as tourism season begins, these chairs at empty tables won’t be vacant much longer.
“It was nerve-wracking before,” said Alex Viana, Front of House Manager for The Lakely. “Once we got open, it was just stepping back into the swing of things and it just felt great to have people here again and all of those nerves kind of washed away when people were kind of enjoying themselves and enjoying the fact that we were reopening and we were offering them good food and good drinks.”
As the lights turn back on, Viana says it takes some adjusting to get back up and running.
“It’s essentially like opening a new business,” Viana said. “Yes there is the blueprint for who we are as a business, but then it’s just the small things getting restarted again across the board.”
As business starts up again and guests and diners return, Lueck says, “People are excited, people are happy. Everybody wants to get outside and do things and go places and feel safe doing it.”
In Eau Claire, Maria Blough, First News at Nine.