Smoking Ban Blamed for Bar Closure

Smoking Ban Blamed for Bar Closure

The Missourian Tavern is closing after nearly 60 years in the Southside.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Missourian Tavern has been in the southend for more than 60 years, but now after a significant loss in business, they're closing their doors for good.

"The smoking ban has driven away the majority of our customers," said Lisa Fothergill, the lessee of the bar.

Lisa Fothergill runs the bar and says the city-wide smoking ban has destroyed her business.

"The first quarter we made $20,000, the second quarter we made about $10,000 and that was when the chatter all started about the smoking ban," she said.

Fothergill says before the smoking ban, the bar was full of people during the week, but now during a normal week day there is no customers.

"1:30, 2:30 in the afternoon we would have five, ten people sitting at the bar," she said. "Now we're lucky if we get our first customer by four, 4:30."

Roger Kerns has been coming to the bar for 25 years.

"I've lived down here all my life and this place has been here for as long as I was a little kid," Kerns said.

Fothergill says the lack of business means she can no longer pay her bills. She says she's tried to find ways to comply with the smoking ban and even build a kitchen to serve food. But after meeting with the city, Fothergill determined it would be too much.

"We don't have the money to invest it," she said.

So Fothergill says she's had enough and is moving out of the town where she grew up.

"My house is going on the market. I can't stay here and not when my business has fallen apart at the rate it has," she said.

Meaning loyal customers like Kerns, are having to find a new place to go.

"After 25, 30 years its hard to find another place," Kerns said. "You lose a lot of friends that you've known for a long time."

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