501 Diner closed in February
The 501 Diner — located at 1500 N. Fordham Blvd. — closed its doors at the end of February.
Diner owner Hassan Agourram said the restaurant has struggled during the economic downturn.
“The sale went down, and we were hoping it was going to go up,” he said. “But this year it was going down even more.”
Agourram said he thinks chain restaurants are causing problems for local restaurants simply because chains don’t have to worry as much about money. He said small businesses can’t compete with chain restaurants like Waffle House, which is scheduled to open in April, and Mellow Mushroom, which opened earlier this month.
As for the fate of the 501 Diner, Agourram said a few people are interested in buying the restaurant.
Kipos brings Greek cuisine
Kipos Greek Taverna, an authentic Greek restaurant, is now bringing walnut baklava and roasted lamb to Franklin Street.
The restaurant opened on Feb. 21 in the Courtyard development at 431 W. Franklin St.
Cafe manager Michael Lovelace said he is happy with the community response so far.
“So far, coming up on the first couple weeks, it’s been really productive. We’ve had a lot of positivity and we’ve had good reviews,” he said.
He said the friendly atmosphere is a critical part of Kipos.
He said the restaurant’s chefs often come out dancing at night, and belly dancers and musicians also provide live entertainment.
Wal-Mart opens hiring center
Wal-Mart has opened a hiring center in Chapel Hill in preparation for the June opening of its new store in Chatham County.
Peggy Martin, shift manager at the employment center, said the center — located at 50101 Governors Drive — has been taking applications for the past three weeks.
“We’ve had a good bit of traffic in here. We’ve probably taken close to 100 applications so far,” she said.
She said Wal-Mart is looking to hire 200 people for various skills and pay levels.
The hiring center will close when the new store moves into its location — located at the intersection of Highway 15-501 and Smith Level Road — on May 6.
Dianne Reid, president of the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation, said the store will help the economy through job creation and by bringing in tax revenue.
“We bring people in the doors and then into our hearts,” Lovelace said.
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