Wednesday, November 16, 2005

They Say These Bars Are Going Boys And They Ain't Coming Back (Redux)

A letter from the publican of Keegan's Irish Pub & Restaurant to Hennepin County:

Keegan's Pub opened three and one-half years ago in the revitalized Old St. Anthony area of Minneapolis. For three years we met our financial projections before every level of government stepped in to put an end to it.

The Federal government forced the State to give us .08

The State government forced us to give a pay increase to our bartenders and servers, our highest paid employees.

Hennepin County gave us the smoking ban.

Minneapolis gave us a smoking ban and more costly and restrictive parking for our customers.

Now Hennepin County can recognize the economic hardship it has caused and act on it. Please do so!

For the first three months of 2005, our sales were up 8% over the same months in 2004. For the most recent three months our sales are down 7.5% compared to the same months in 2004. That is a swing of 15.5%. Although our percentage decrease is smaller than some, it represents the difference between profit and loss. We have not had a profitable month since April, and the trend is downward. October 2005 was 17% down from October 2004. Cold weather will only accelerate the trend as smokers will be less willing to smoke outside. Hence, they will go to locations where they can smoke inside.

Rent, heat. and light are up and heating costs are sure to be way up this winter. Additionally, we had to rent outdoor space for a patio and purchase patio furniture, just to minimize our losses. No business can survive under these conditions.

You may be interested to know that we have four fewer employees than we had in March. That translates into unemployment claims and other county benifits.

It appears that St. Paul is encouraging Hennepin County to stay the course with the promise that St. Paul will enact a total smoking ban. It seems to me that promises from St. Paul and Ramsey County were broken last year. Regardless of what St. Paul does or does not do, for Northeast Minneapolis the real problem is Anoka County, just two miles north of us.

One final thought: The argument that non smokers will flock to our restaurants now that we are non smoking is totally bogus. Where are they?

Please act.

If you want to act before Keegan's becomes the latest business in Hennepin County to go up in smoke, you can share your thoughts with the powers that be at:

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