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Ticonderoga businesses struggle with economy

Restaurants close; stores cut back

Two Brothers Meat Market owners, from left, Joe, Fred and Gary Namer remain optimistic about the future while their business struggles this winter.

Two Brothers Meat Market owners, from left, Joe, Fred and Gary Namer remain optimistic about the future while their business struggles this winter.

— When Ti Pi abruptly closed days before Christmas, Gary Namer wasn’t surprised.

“Times are tough for everyone, especially small businesses,” said Namer, who owns Two Brothers Meat Market in Ticonderoga with his brothers Joe and Fred Namer. “Everyone is really struggling.”

While national statistics show the Great Recession has ended and the United States economy is improving, a visit to Ticonderoga tells another story. Three restaurants — Ti Pi, the Carillon Restaurant and the Old Mill Cafe — have closed in the past few months and other businesses — like Two Brothers Meat Market and Rathbun Jewelers — are scaling back operations.

And these aren’t failed start-up businesses. The Carillon Restaurant served Ticonderoga 24 years before owner Russ Slater decided to retire. Ti Pi had been a local fixture for nearly three decades. Rathbun Jewelers celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2010. Two Brothers moved to a new location and expanded a year ago after nearly a decade at another spot.

“The nation continues to go through hard economic times and the Ticonderoga area is no different,” said Matt Courtright, executive director of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is upsetting to see wonderful and dedicated businesses going through these struggling times when we are all working hard to create a new economic climate in the Ticonderoga area. The chamber will work with area businesses in any way possible to provide assistance, support and resources.”

Not all the news is completely bad. Rathbun Jewelers closed this week, but plans to re-open in April.

“I guess you could say it’s a seasonal decision,” said Sue Rathbun, who owns the store with her husband, Howard. “We’ve talked about taking the winter off for several years and now we’ve decided to do it.”

Howard Rathbun stressed the shop will re-open in April and operate as it always has.

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