Smoking Ban Seriously Affecting Business

By Jessica Toumani

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 27, 2007 at 2:03 PM EDT

Jun 26, 2007 - "It's not really a smoking issue to us it's more of a paying my bills, you know, I was on top on the world two years ago, went and bought a beautiful home for my family and I had to sit down with my three teenage kids and tell them we're putting it up for sale, " says Daniel White, the owner of Wrigley Field Bar and Grill.

White says business is down thirty percent since last June and forty percent since just last month. His servers are also feeling the burn. Holly Schwarz has been a waitress for ten years and says her tips since the smoking ban have been ridiculous.

"On an average day, it's 150 to 200, now it's 80, it could mean a second job, it could mean getting a job in my field, I've always shied away from my college degree partly because its better money in the serving business, but it's not the case anymore," says Schwarz.

We spoke to several other bars and restaurants in Fort Wayne who say the ban on smoking seems to have led to a ban on their business, but in New Haven, just a short drive away, it's a completely different story.

"Most of the businesses have seen roughly about a 20 percent increase right now, especially in the smoking section, on weekends," says Jim Symington, owner of Rich's Cafe in New Haven.

"Probably about 8 to 10 calls a day of people asking if we are a smoking or non-smoking facility because they want to be able to go somewhere where they can have a meal or a drink and not worry about breaking the law," says David Golden, a chef at Rack and Helen's, also in New Haven.

"Everybody in here comes in and says hey a handful of people cannot tell everybody what to do, it's not fair especially for veterans, you go die for your country, but you can't come over here and have a cigarette and a beer," says Faye Wollman, a bartender at Foster's Sports Pub.

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