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Local business hopes to stay afloat with beer and wine sales

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By The Staff

It’s long been said that desperate times demand desperate measures. With many restaurants facing difficult times during the country’s economic downturn, one historic restaurant in Springfield is hoping to add sales by offering something new to the menu – alcohol. Vhonda Barlow, co-owner of Cecconi’s Restaurant, recently applied to the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for a license to sell beer and wine by the glass. It’s a move she describes as scary, but something that needs to be tried if the restaurant is to stay profitable in these tough times.

“It’s a scary step,” Barlow said. “You don’t know if you’re going to hurt business, but I’ve talked to a lot of my customers who do not drink to see if the sales would deter them. I had to make sure I had positive feedback before I applied.”

Cecconi’s Restaurant has been in business since 1937 and has traditionally offered breakfast, lunch and dinner set in a family atmosphere. Barlow and her sister, Deborah Seng, have run the restaurant since July of 1992.

“If we get the license, we will not sell beer or wine until evening hours,” Barlow added. “We will still offer food the entire time we’re open, but we’ll have a special night menu. We’re not making a place to come drink. We’ve had several people tell us that they would come into the restaurant if we offered beer and wine at night, but we don’t, so they don’t come in. We’ll still be a nice family restaurant.”

In Springfield, other establishments serve alcoholic beverages by the glass, such as Mordecai’s on Main, El Mariachi and Backyard. Cecconi’s is taking that extra step to compete in an already tight market.

“We’re just trying to survive in what is a hard time for our business,” Barlow said. “We’re not making enough money off breakfast to keep us going. We have to look down other avenues, and that’s what we’re doing to just try to stay afloat.”

Read the complete story in this week's Springfield Sun!