By Claudia Rupcich
Lynchburg, VA – Most restaurants and shops are closed Sundays in Lynchburg, but some business owners are trying to change that and lead the way for the rest of the city.
Ashley Rhodes has been a manager at RA Bistro is downtown Lynchburg for almost three years. She says deciding to open all day Sunday has been definitely worth it.
“Response has been awesome as far as people coming down for the weekends, especially for Sundays and Saturdays,” she said. “We just saw a really great outpour of people just really wanting to come downtown for the weekend, which was more surprising than we expected.”
And she wasn’t the only one surprised.
“We decided after church today we’d come see what’s available for lunch downtown, and they’re open on a Sunday! We were very surprised,” said Noel Weller, a Lynchburg resident who was eating at RA Bistro.
That’s because few places are open on Sunday. Gladiola Girls on Main Street is one of them.
Renee Wood opened the clothing boutique about two months ago.
“There’s nothing else open and because of that, we get to have foot traffic that we normally wouldn’t have,” she said.
Wood says she hopes to lead the community so more shops open their doors.
“It is a beautiful town, and people enjoy getting out and looking at the architecture. But it’s nice to be able to get inside some of the windows that I see people’s faces pressed up against. It would be wonderful if more people were open on Sundays.”
It’d be good not only for business owners, but for the locals too.
“Typically Sunday has been a day where we just kinda have to leave downtown, go hiking or spend the day somewhere else because there’s been nothing here. But if places are open, we’re happy to come and hang out downtown,” said John Gillum, who lives in downtown Lynchburg.
Beckie Nix, the Lynchburg director of tourism, says being open longer and on Sundays would benefit everyone. It’d bring more business to owners, and tax on that money would go back to helping improve the city.