July 12, 2018 10:36:31 AM
Barbara Swindol remembers sitting on an old barstool when she was 5 years old playing on a pinball machine in the corner of The Elbow Room while her father sat at the bar for a drink.
Swindol reopened The Elbow Room in 2013, after it had closed two years before, to help return the bar to the place she remembered. She said she felt she had done just that, hosting open-mic nights and bringing in live bands to the restaurant and bar on Second Avenue North over the next five years.
But when Swindol's adult son, Rob -- who worked at the business -- was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this summer, her priorities suddenly changed. She has now closed the Elbow Room and is looking for a buyer.
"I had no intentions of ever selling that bar," Swindol said. "Rob put himself into that bar for a long time and just did a great job turning that around."
Swindol hopes to have The Elbow Room officially listed for sale by this weekend, but she already has potential buyers lining up just by to word-of-mouth.
She will be selling the business and building with all contents and equipment, a "turn-key" sale. First named The Historic Landmark, which started as a sandwich shop in the early 1940s, became The Elbow Room in 1959.
Swindol said her biggest hope is that whoever purchases the bar will continue to grow the musical scene and her vision she started for The Elbow Room.
"We watched some amazing (musical) talent grow in that bar," she said. "I'm very sad to be walking away from it, but it really deserves someone who can make it their priority. My son's my priority right now."
Thai by Thai aims to sell
Thai by Thai, located 509 Main St., also is for sale, said restaurant owner Scott Carley.
Carley opened the restaurant on Wilkins Wise Road nearly six years ago with his wife, Gon. Together, they moved Thai by Thai to the downtown area in 2014.
Carley said the restaurant has struggled recently with business and hopes to find a buyer to purchase the restaurant, recipes and everything inside the building. The building is owned by Main Street Partners and was formerly the Station 7 Bar and Grill. Thai by Thai currently has a couple in Florida interested, Carley said, but nothing official has come to fruition.
Although Carley said he is looking to sell the restaurant's name and recipes, he is not opposed to shutting the doors completely and walking away. Before the restaurant is officially sold, Carley said he intends to change a few menu items and bring in some live music to downtown.
"We're going to try to add some things for people that are skittish of the food," he said. "But Thai food is 100 percent healthy and made from scratch."
Carley said he loves the city of Columbus; however, he just wishes he could see a larger crowd willing to come into his restaurant.
"If we just had a little more support from the community, we might think about doing something different," Carley said.
Barbara Bigelow, executive director for Main Street Columbus, said restaurants play a critical role in creating a vital downtown scene.
"We would love more restaurants in our area. We hate to have any that are considering leaving for any reason," Bigelow said. "We certainly value our restaurants and would love to have more in downtown Columbus. The ones that we have now provide great variety to our community."
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