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Ghosts haunt downtown Lawrenceburg.
I’m not the only one who can see them.
They’re empty, lingering shells of the lives they once led, cut short by a death that cannot be easily be explained or understood.
In all the places I’ve lived, I’ve never seen restaurants open so hopefully and die so quickly.
In my quest to find the answers to downtown’s problems, including the extreme lack of restaurants on Main Street, I thought to go directly to the source — the restaurant owner.
Problem is, they don’t have the answers either.
Heavens to Betsy! Bakery is the last restaurant standing on Main Street, and one of a few remaining businesses on the block.
The bakery’s owners , Jackson and Betsy Horton, say the downtown is one of their frequent topics of conversation.
Because Betsy can see the ghosts too, of the kids who used to hang out after school at Anderson Grill and the soda fountain at the drugstore.
But tourists from distillery tours make the bulk of the cafe’s traffic today.
“If it wasn’t for the tourist, we wouldn’t make it,” they said.
The Hortons don’t want heavy competition, of course, but anything that would bring people to downtown.
The question they’re still asking, that I’m still asking, however, is — bring them to what?
It’s easy to form castles in the air about restaurants and shops moving in downtown, once it’s all cleaned up.
But that’s not at all realistic.
Entrepreneurship is one part capital, one part risk-taking, and not too many people have much of either these days.
There’s of course, always exceptions. Like the bakery.
“Jackie and I took a chance, as far as opening this place up,” Betsy said. “You kind of cross your fingers.”
Perhaps with a little luck, we’ll see more restaurants to join them. Maybe crossing my fingers will help.