SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Downtown Springfield is seeing changes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While once downtown staples, Falstaff’s Local and Billiards of Springfield closed their doors for the last time during city restrictions this spring.
Meanwhile, new businesses have sprung up.
The Bonsai Guy, located in an old auto body shop near Walnut and Main Street, officially opened in April after signing the lease in February.
Owner and artist Chris Cox says he now has over 3,000 plants for sale.
“I’m not going to lie, I certainly thought about tucking my tail and running for the hills, but I had some pretty amazing, loyal customers that reached out and said, ‘hey we love what you’re doing, we don’t want you to go away,'” said Cox.
Across the street, the downtown Classic Rock Coffee location opened its doors on May 11th, when most businesses we’re still limited to 25% capacity.
The same goes for the Inner Circle vodka bar on the northeast corner of Walnut and Campbell, which opened on June 2nd.
Across the street at 320 W. Walnut, the old Springfield Seed Company, and later Outlet Furniture building got a facelift, with crews sandblasting decades-old white paint off the building to reveal a fresh look.
Over near Walnut and Jefferson, the Downtown Nutrition Club opened on June 22nd.
Just like The Bonsai Guy, co-owner Morgan Helms says issues with getting city permits pushed her original reopening date in January back, along with other factors related to COVID-19.
“It took a while to get our permits, and then finding someone that would come in and do it, and then COVID hit too, and so finding anyone to work in here, plus having all the restrictions it just wasn’t the best time to open,” said Helms.
But down time during a global pandemic can also mean extra time for renovations.
On its Facebook page, Stick It In Your Ear announced some significant changes to its interior while closed. They were closed for two months. It reopened on June 15th.
What used to be Scotch & Soda on South Street has also gotten a facelift. Under the same ownership, the neighborhood bar has been revamped and is now called Sweet Boys. It first opened on June 19th.