I've never been to Luna Bella in the Hickory Ridge Village Center. And now comes word that they are closing. Their final day will be December 31st, so I don't have much time left. The owners published a letter to the community on their Facebook business page yesterday. You can read it here.
I've heard many people lament the loss of mom and pop businesses in Columbia. What is going on right now in Hickory Ridge appears to be a case in point. A well-loved and successful local business feels marginalized and set up to fail by the large corporation that owns the Village Center. I know that we faced a similar struggle when Cedar Properties decided that The Second Chance Saloon wasn't a valuable tenant and decided not to renew their lease.
Business is business.
It's nothing personal.
You just don't understand.
Yes, I understand that Columbia is changing and that the business world changes. But I would argue that it is personal. Places like Luna Bella or the Second Chance are all about the personal, the human connection. Relationships. That's where return business comes from, customer loyalty, and word of mouth recommendations.
It sounds like the owners of Luna Bella are lamenting the lack of a business relationship with Kimco where the human connection was valued along with the balance sheet. I don't blame them. I would argue that the best and most successful businesses take both into account.
While there may be more to this story that I do not know, once thing I'm sure of. I need to get to Luna Bella soon. Do you have any recommendations of menus items to try? Let me know.