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Knightyme is latest bar to close since Springfield smoking ban

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --  After nearly 20 years, the Knightyme Bar and Billiards in northwest Springfield is shutting down.  The owners blame Springfield's smoking ban. 

They're not the only business blaming the ban for a huge drop in sales.  The folks at Kinney Amusement, which provides things like pool tables and juke boxes, also say the effects are obvious.

At Knightyme Bar and Billiards, the pool tables and bar stools will soon be gone. Owner Jim Knight is preparing for auction.

"Tough, really tough," Knight said.

After 19 years, he's calling it quits. 

“I think I realized it maybe six, eight months ago, but I kept hoping and kept putting money in it, and finally I said, 'No more,'” said Knight.

He says, since the smoking ban, he's had about a 60-percent drop in business. 

“Eight-thousand dollar back porch, I tried anything and everything.  I dropped my beer prices, I've altered a lot of things, to no avail.  The people just do not want to come inside the city limits and drink at a local bar anymore,” Knight said.

“The people that want to smoke and drink are going outside the Springfield city limits,” said Kelly Kinney-Lee of Kinney Amusement.

Kinney Amusement is trying to follow the crowd, after they've seen about 10 bars close down and send back their juke boxes and pool tables. 

“As you can see we have 13 here.  We have another four at our warehouse.  That's the most ever we've had," said Ron Kinney, referring to a long row of pool tables.

The Kinneys say sales in the machines still out in public are down anywhere from 15 to 35 percent.  Their business is down to a skeleton crew.  They haven't had to lay anyone off, but have left positions open.

“It was a tough time for all businesses because of the recession, and things were hard, kind of stabilized a little bit, and then of course, the smoking ban just toughened things even further,” said Kinney-Lee.

Some hope people will adjust to the smoking ban. 

“I really hope the people who voted for the ban will come and support those businesses that are having to change, and that we'll see an upswing,” said Kinney-Lee.

But for others, it's too late. 

“We could have survived the crash in the economy.  We couldn't survive the wisdom of our city,” said Knight.

Knight says he's talked with other bar owners who say their businesses are also suffering, and some outside the city limits who are seeing growth in their businesses. The Knightyme’s last day will be this Sunday, Feb. 3, with an auction Feb. 21.

Read previous KY3 story from March 2012 with Knightyme Bar and Billiards here.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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