Businesses Worry about Deep Ellum Closures

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Image of barracaids blocking street in Deep Ellum. | Image from NBC DFW

Some streets in Deep Ellum will be closing on Friday and Saturday nights as a response to recent violence, but it has left some Dallas business owners annoyed. A few of these owners spoke to NBC 5 to explain how these closures can be bad for business.  

A restaurant on Elm Street, Bucky Moonshines, was closed last weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  

Owner Ivan Pugh told NBC, “We won’t survive and I bet there’ll be 10 businesses closed in six months if they kept it this way.”  

Pugh said he closed for the additional day to make up for financial losses from the last weekend. Over a dozen Bucky Moonshines employees have quit, according to the owner. 

“They said we just can’t make any money,” Pugh explained. “And they’re gone. They’re going to go to a neighborhood that the police aren’t closing the neighborhood down.”  

Business owners said these closures are especially hard as they try to rebuild from the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Dallas police, the closures are a response to violence and visitors from the State Fair.  

Chief Eddie Garcia said on September 20, a day after six people were shot on Malcolm X Boulevard, that the police would not tolerate violence.  

Garcia said, “We’re going to respond appropriately and make sure we have a presence in that area and make sure patrons feel safe.” 

City Council Member Jesse Moreno, who represents Deep Ellum, said there is a task force working on any issues. Moreno told NBC that the street closures are an effort to make pedestrians feel safer.  

He said, “We want to be sure the bar owners can promote their business and let the customers know that they’re going to be safe when they come to Deep Ellum. Even though the streets might be closed, Deep Ellum is a welcoming place. We just won’t tolerate violence.” 

Executive Director Stephanie Keller Hudiberg from the Deep Ellum Foundation said the neighborhood hosts live music seven days a week to attract visitors.  

“Deep Ellum is a very dynamic district so not only our traffic plan and our mobility plan but our safety plan has to be dynamic as well,” Hudiberg said. “This week we had a very productive meeting. We meet monthly and we spoke with law enforcement about the past weekend’s closures and this weekend you’re going to see something a little bit different.” 

Both Main and Elm street will begin closing at 10 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. This will allow restaurants to take advantage of the early evening rush.  

Pugh told NBC, “If it’s 10 o’clock, we might salvage it.” 

However, Mr. Pugh said he also counts on late-night parking lot business, but will not be able to during weekend closures.  

A spokesman for the Dallas Police said they will close some streets in Deep Ellum on weekends through the Fair. After this, they will discuss future steps.  

During a recent event, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the crime in Deep Ellum was “alarming.” 

Johnson said, “I support our police chief doing what he needs to do to restore order to that area and make it safe for everyone who is there.” 

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