Some Oregon District businesses to close entirely on shooting anniversary

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Some businesses in Dayton’s Oregon District decided even before Monday’s large water-main break to shut their doors entirely on the anniversary of one of the worst mass shootings in Ohio history on Aug. 4, 2019.

Other businesses have decided to stay open to provide a safe space and help with the healing process — although those plans could be impacted by a large-scale water-main break near Keowee Street and Monument Avenue in downtown Dayton that prompted a boil-water advisory Monday afternoon.

“We’ve decided, due to the emotional and practical complications of trying to run a business on such a heavy day safely and effectively — especially with the ongoing health and safety concerns of COVID-19 — that it’s in our best interest to close and spend time with each other and loved ones,” the owners of Toxic Brew, a craft brewery and bar at 431 E. Fifth St., wrote on the Toxic Brew Instagram page. “Simply put, Dayton, we need a breather. Thanks for all the support and love you’ve shown for us and the Oregon District as a whole after all the events of the past year. Take care of yourselves and each other. Stay safe. We’ll be back at it at noon Wednesday.”

The owners of Ned Peppers, the Oregon District bar at 419 E. Fifth St. where the shooter’s rampage ended near the front entrance, reached a similar decision. In an Instagram post in conjunction with Hole in the Wall bar at 423 E. Fifth St., the owners wrote, “In lieu of all the current events, (we) will be closing our doors Aug. 4 in remembrance of those who lost their lives one year ago. I challenge everyone to take the day and spend it doing something you enjoy. Spend time with family and friends, call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Stay Strong Dayton.”

Heart Mercantile, 438 E. Fifth St., will be closed “in respect to the victims and their families,” according to their Facebook page. The shop encouraged anyone struggling to reach out and shared the Montgomery County Victim/Witness Division hotline number, 937-225-5623, the National Suicide Hotline, 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-8255, and the Crisis Text Line, 741-741.

beck + call also shared the Crisis Text Line on their social media pages. The store, located at 504 E. Fifth St., will also be closed on the anniversary.

“We are taking the day to ourselves to process and reflect,” read a statement on their Facebook page. “Please, if you are feeling anxious or alone, reach out to those around you.”

Some of the specialty retail shops along the East Fifth Street corridor also have decided not to open Tuesday, according to Emily Mendenhall, founder and owner of Lily’s Bistro at 329 E. Fifth St. and vice president of the Oregon District Business Association.

Her restaurant, however, will remain open, if at all possible.

“For us, we are open because we weathered the initial trauma together, and the anniversary opens a lot of wounds,” Mendenhall said Monday. “We believe being around each other (following COVID-19 guidelines) is a good thing. Any staff who wanted to be off was given the day off.”

“We appreciate that each business has chosen what they think is best,” Mendenhall said. “I think the most important thing is that folks are able to grieve and process as is best for themselves. Also, with the memorial events around the district, we want to be a place where folks can come together in small groups for some comfort food and to be with loved ones.”

About the Author