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Jaxon Edwin Social House, featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Ellicott City makeover TV special, closes its doors

Jaxon Edwin Social House, one of the three renovated Ellicott City businesses featured on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s “24 Hours to Hell and Back” earlier this year, has closed.

Owner Jeff Braswell announced the closing Thursday night in a Facebook post, saying, in part, that the combination barbershop, coffee bar and game room had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic just a few days after reopening from the Ramsay renovation.

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“It starts with COVID and it just goes downhill,” Braswell said in an interview Friday. “It’s an impossible hole to deal with. We’re in a lose-lose situation.”

Ramsay and his film crew spent Feb. 21 to 28 in historic Ellicott City relocating and upgrading Jaxon Edwin; the Little Market Cafe; and a merger of the Phoenix Emporium and Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, now called Phoenix Upper Main. The updates also featured exterior renovations to the Shoemaker Country store, done by celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus.

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It was part of a larger effort to get needed upgrades to Main Street, an area still rebuilding after catastrophic floods in July 2016 and May 2018 killed three people and caused severe damage. Several businesses in the historic district are still rebuilding, and several more either closed for good or moved to different locations. Jaxon Edwin had been operating on Main Street since November 2018.

After Ramsay came to Ellicott City, Braswell said business was “on fire,” but it was only a few days later when county and state measures shut down nonessential businesses to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Braswell said he reached out to the “24 Hours to Hell and Back” producers to see if they had any suggestions on how to stay afloat. They suggested pushing carryout options as much as possible, and added that many restaurants all over the country have had to shut down.

When Jaxon Edwin reopened in mid-May, it offered haircuts by appointment for essential workers and also offered carryout and curbside pickup of small plates and cocktails. Once outdoor and indoor dining was allowed to resume in Maryland, Braswell said the capacity limit on the number of people he could have in the building at one time also limited his business.

“Your income is down 70%, but your expenses are 100% the same,” he said.

Jaxon Edwin qualified for a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan — designed to provide assistance for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll — but Braswell said it only helped in the interim and was not a long-term solution.

“We shut down in March and then tried to reopen [in May], and we’ve never been the same,” he said. “How can you own a social house if you can die from socializing?”

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