Community rallies around Asheboro restaurant forced to close due to unexpected construction project

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ASHEBORO, N.C. — Community members are rallying around a popular local restaurant. 

This after a property management company blocked off the parking lot for a construction project, forcing the restaurant that uses it for curbside, to close its doors. 

Just like any restaurant reeling from the impacts of COVID-19, Magnolia 23 had just re-opened its restaurant in May with a different business model. They added curbside to stay afloat during this time. 

While the food keeps appetites satisfied at Magnolia 23, it’s the people who are serving up the soulful bite that keeps customers coming back. 

“The guy works like crazy. He makes sure his customers, everybody that comes in here, he makes the rounds, he makes sure the food is okay. The guy does good work,” said Joel Leonard, long-time patron.

On Monday, when the restaurant owners announced on social media he had to temporarily closed the doors, people in the community started speaking up. 

“My initial thought, this cant happen, not to Don Simmons,” Leonard said. 

The issue was the owner of Magnolia 23, Don Simmons, said he was the only nearby business owner who was never notified about the construction being done in that parking lot. Simmons said he found out when he showed up to work on Monday to find the parking lot blocked off with yellow tape. 

“I think we were surprised. I think we’re just a little upset that there wasn’t much communication,” Crystal Simmons, co-owner of Magnolia 23, said. “We felt like other people were aware of what was going on, but no one spoke to us directly,” she said. 

Magnolia 23 is just one of a few businesses that utilizes the lot located behind their restaurant, which is owned by Schwarz. 

Another concern was that Magnolia 23 owners said they were told by the city that their trash bins had to be placed in the front of their restaurant rather than the back. 

On Monday, Asheboro Mayor David Smith took to Magnolia 23’s Facebook post to point out that the trash can request was a temporary request to roll trash cans to the public street at night and roll them back in by morning like other downtown businesses already do. 

By Tuesday, Mayor Smith, City Manger John Ogburn, city works officials and businesses who use the lot all met to discuss possible solutions. 

Mayor Smith told FOX8 it was all a misunderstanding between Magnolia 23 and Schwarz Properties. 

But that misunderstanding ended up costing Magnolia 23. It caused the restaurant to close its doors this week, putting at least 15 employees jobs on hold. 

“We had to kind of restructure and re-think about how we were going to do our business,” Crystal said. 

Crystal said the co-owner, Angel Schwarz, reached out to them and is willing to work with the restaurant to find a solution.  

Magnolia 23 hopes to re-open its doors by Friday.  

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