Updated: Tue, 02/12/2013 - 08:36

CITY TALK: Businesses sprint to open before St. Patrick's Day

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Well we made it through January, a pretty rocky month for the economy even in good years.

And now comes the sprint through Savannah’s late winter and spring festivals. The Savannah Book Festival and Savannah Irish Festival are among the events on tap for this weekend.

For many entrepreneurs, the next month will include another sort of sprint. Some new retail and restaurant ventures are in a mad rush to get the doors open before St. Patrick’s Day.

The new Joe’s Crab Shack on River Street is scheduled to open today.

Blowin’ Smoke BBQ is moving from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and plans to reopen soon in the former Sol space at Habersham and 33rd streets.

VegHeads, the Savannah version of the popular vegetarian restaurant in Asheville, is also planning to open before St. Patrick’s Day.

The Warehouse Bar & Grill announced via Facebook that in March it is opening Mojo’s Juke Joint in an available spot on West River Street.

Moon River Brewing Company also used Facebook to announce hiring plans for a variety of positions in advance of the opening of the new beer garden adjacent to the existing building.

I noted last week in this space that Live Wire Music Hall had closed, but Live Wire Sounds Productions wasted no time getting its booking, promotion and production business rolling. The new entity packed the second floor of Dub’s Pub on River Street for The Mantras on Saturday and has another show slated for Friday.

And that’s just scratching the surface of small business activity downtown. Look for more announcements and developments in the coming weeks.

Some recent business closings spawned a lot of cynicism about the state of the local economy. But, as we’ve noted before, we generally see an increase in closings around the first of the year followed by a surge of activity about now.

Of course, there is one particular looming danger that could stall the regional economy despite the new investment.

It looks increasingly likely that elected officials in Washington will not be able to avoid the sequester, which will prompt deep and immediate cuts in federal spending on March 1.

Defense spending will be hardest hit. We could see furloughs for some civilian employees at local military bases and reduced business for private contractors.

The full panoply of defense and non-defense cuts will certainly hurt the nation’s GDP, but areas with defense installations will likely feel the most immediate pain.

And that’s bad news for the Savannah and Hinesville metropolitan areas, especially the neighborhoods where the affected workers are clustered.

 

City Talk appears every Sunday and Tuesday. Bill Dawers can be reached via billdawers@comcast.net and http://www.billdawers.com. Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, GA 31401.

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