Businesses on Bardstown Road Worry They’re Next to Close

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While walking down Bardstown Road in the Highlands, you can find the doors to Encore Resale wide open. Owner Mark Estell said he does that to let people know it’s open unlike many other businesses on the block.

“It looks like a ghost town right now,” Estell said. “You walk up and down and nobody is on the streets.”

He opened up his store at noon but it wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. that the first customer of the day finally walked in.

Alan Wells said he was walking past on his way home from getting a haircut when some of the men’s clothing items in the window caught his attention.

Estell said that’s how he gets many of his customers. That’s why he’s so concerned about less foot traffic on this block lately. 

Wells lives just down the road. He said it’s been slower around there since the pandemic than he remembers it ever being in his lifetime.

“It’s just weird seeing certain places boarded up and a lot of buildings vacant. It’s just not something I’m used to,” Wells said.

Last week, Hopcat on Bardstown Road announced it would close permanently after its parent company filed for bankruptcy. 

“With Hopcat being closed, it’s just one more store on this block. This block has been dead for a while since Yang Kee Noodle and Mellow Mushroom closed,” Estell said.

Metro Councilman Brandon Coan (D-8) said although there are vacancies, he doesn’t think the buildings will be empty for long. 

“I think, in terms of attraction, the Highlands market sells itself. There’s a lot of people that live close by. There’s a lot of disposable income of people that want to eat, drink and shop,” Coan said.

He also said he is working with the Economic Development Department on a business attraction plan set to launch soon. Though it was delayed a bit because of the coroanvirus, it is still in the works.

A silver lining for Estell is that a new Korean BBQ restaurant, Gogi 1055, is opening up in the former Buffalo Wild Wings building that has been empty for a while.

“Hopefully that will bring a little foot traffic in the area,” Estell said.

He said he is hopeful that Bardstown Road buisinesses can bounce back post-pandemic.