Township sports bar closes due to pandemic and staff shortages

CANTON, Ohio — Owners of popular Stark County sports bars are closing one of their locations, citing uncertainty caused during the pandemic, staffing shortages and an expiring lease.

TD’s Tailgate Grill in Canton closed after Christmas and has not reopened. He had served clients for 10 years.

A sign posted on the front door reads: ‘Unfortunately, the uncertainty of the future with respect to staffing, supply chain disruptions and other financial impacts caused by the last 21 months of COVID-19 have gotten us to this point.”

TD’s Tailgate Grill located on North Main Street in North Canton will remain open and have extended hours.

Owner Kim Shapiro said six to eight employees will lose their jobs because of the Canton shutdown, but she’s trying to help workers land jobs at other restaurants in the area.

Other employees will move from the Canton site to the North Canton restaurant, including Ashley Prine who has been managing the Canton spot since last July.

“It’s really, really sad. I feel for the people I’m close with who have been here way longer than me because it feels like a second home to them,” Prine said.

Pivoting during the pandemic has been a constant for Shapiro who made headlines following health orders in 2020 when she installed shower curtains to ensure social distancing at Twisted Citrus, another restaurant she owns in the north of the canton.

“The shower curtains fell on June 18, so we happily burned the shower curtains,” she said.

Shapiro said several factors determined this was the last call for TD’s Tailgate Grill on Tuscarawas Street W.

The building’s lease was coming to an end and the restaurant had faced multiple challenges during the pandemic.

“Our lunch business basically died out at this location and it was huge. We took a hit in 2020 like everyone else did and we still haven’t gotten all that stuff back,” Shapiro said. .

Additionally, staffing shortages at TD’s two restaurants have created fatigue and mental health overload for people at work, she said.

“I would say we run each location with about 60% employees, so there’s only so many times you can go to the pit as owners, as management,” Shapiro told News 5.

Shapiro said the straw that broke the camel’s back was the peak of the Omicron variant which hit during the busiest time of the year for grilling – the holiday season – and rendered several workers redundant. sick.

“Halfway through we lost four people, whereas when you’re leading a team of 14 and you lose four and you were already at 60 per cent, a lot of us were working 70-80 hours a week.”

Despite the obstacles, Shapiro and managers said they are focused on future opportunities.

They plan to bring back a popular pop-up bar, which was used at the Canton location, and believe renewed interest in one of TD’s locations will score big with customers and employees.

“We’re here to make sure our staff are happy and our customers are happy,” Prine said.

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