S2 Pizzabar, a sister restaurant to Madison mainstay Ian’s Pizza, will close later this month after opening its doors in November 2012, citing difficulties with the location on the 500 block of State Street.
Ian Gurfield, owner of Ian’s Pizza and S2 Pizzabar, said the restaurant will close March 17 in an email to The Badger Herald.
According to a statement on the restaurant’s website, Gurfield loved the “vibrant atmosphere” of the area, but the neighborhood was not the right location.
“The space wasn’t a good fit for our business,” Gurfield said.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, also cited the negative effects the economy has had on local business as a possible reason for the closure. It is “disheartening” to see these businesses close down and is a reflection of the poor economy, Resnick said.
Resnick added State Street remains a vibrant area for local businesses.
However, Mary Carbine, executive director of the city’s Central Business Improvement District, said restaurants closer to University of Wisconsin’s campus tend to do better.
“Even though it has been tough for businesses on State Street, part of the reason many of them closer to campus continue to do well is because of the strong student population and visitors,” Carbine said.
Visitors to the city in general have been a lifeline for many downtown businesses, Carbine added.
Despite these factors, Carbine said the people working and living in Madison are not spending as much or are choosing less expensive meal options when they go out. She also said businesses can continue to be successful by grabbing the attention of students passing by, campus visitors or those attending sporting events.
“Smart businesses adjust,” Carbine said. “[Businesses on State Street] are very location-sensitive, especially in a foot traffic-oriented place.”
In light of the challenges facing local businesses, Resnick added many organizations throughout the city are working to encourage economic development.
Citing Madison’s Central Business Improvement District, which works to market local businesses, as an example, Resnick said the city is trying to provide support for restaurants and other businesses like Pizzabar.
“They are basically trying to ensure the economy is thriving on State Street,” he said.