Tapcade closes due to COVID-19 restrictions; other businesses hope for relief

Crossroads business packs up as revenue drops
Posted at 5:45 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 20:13:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The lights will soon shut off at Kansas City's first arcade bar, Tapcade.

Owner Adam Roberts told 41 Action News the Crossroads staple can't endure any longer during the pandemic.

"Waking up and just feeling so defeated. That’s the problem we’re all facing as small business owners is how do you stop feeling so defeated?" Roberts said.

The business at East 17th and McGee streets did receive a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program toward the beginning of the pandemic, but the money ran out and when the business reopened, customers just weren't coming in.

"After three months of being open, if there’s no more assistance, you know, we’re burning money faster than we ever burned it," Roberts said. "The smart thing to do is to close it now."

For an arcade bar and restaurant, Roberts said the business model doesn't work to maintain social distancing while making a profit. Staff had to limit the number of arcade games from 50 to 15 and restrict capacity inside the building.

"For a business that relies on a lot of people coming together to sustain themselves, we’re looking at a lot longer time frame than right now," Roberts said. "And without more government assistance on the horizon, it was just time to call it quits before we get buried too far in further debts."

It's a struggle felt by other businesses, including The Corner Bar and Grill at East 18th and Vine streets, which opened during the pandemic after taking over a spot left empty by another business that couldn't make it.

"We’ve suffered so terribly under this COVID, and there’s got to be some relief because we’re all willing to work, but what do you do when they tell you you’re not allowed to work," said Henry Service, owner of The Corner.

Local economists predict any recovery from this pandemic will take a while.

"While there will be a recovery and the vaccine is key to that, it’s going to be a little longer than people think," said Dr. Stephen Bell, professor of economics at Park University. "It's not just going to be an automatic 'turn on the lights' situation where you turn the light switch on and we’re right back where we were before."

That's why small businesses insist that any kind of aid needs to come now, as every day is a challenge.

"There’s got to be some kind of relief for small business people like myself," Service added.

These small businesses also hope people will chip in with money to revive or keep their shops alive.

"You can do one thing to save businesses like mine: it’s to go support local businesses wherever you go, wherever you spend your dollars, that’s a vote for that business," Roberts said.

Tapcade plans to close at the end of August.