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Downtown bar closing, blames meter maids, city 

Published: Wednesday, June 07, 2017 @ 9:18 AM
By: Amelia Robinson

A downtown bar is closing for good and the owner blames meter maids, parking limitations, city officials and other factors in a lengthy Facebook post.   

Riff Raff Tavern on Canal, 130 N. Patterson, will shut down Sunday, according to that Facebook post. 

In a statement, city officials said they were sorry to learn Riff Raff would close, and that they had tried to work with owners to resolve issues. 

READ THE COMPLETE FACEBOOK POST AND RESPONSE FROM THE CITY BELOW

Mike and Bev Schmidt opened their blues bar in 2013. 

>> MORE: Riff Raff Tavern starts Blues & BBQ

In a phone interview, Mike Schmidt said he felt like an outcast that did not fit the plan for downtown from nearly the moment he purchased his building in 2010. 

“From day one, it was nothing but ‘no, no, no, no,’” Schmidt said. “I am nobody, and that’s the way I’ve been treated from day one. I am not throwing good money after bad.” 

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He said he has no interest in putting a new business in the building constructed in 1849. 

“I will let this building fall down before I open anything in Dayton,” he said.  

Schmidt later noted that he may be willing to sell or lease it. He said his workers and patrons consistently battled with those going to the Fifth Third Field for Dragon’s baseball games and workers and parents at Dayton Early College Academy’s middle school. 

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In its statement, the City of Dayton said parking meters “are available on a first-come basis” to the public. 

Officials said concessions were offered to Riff Raff, including allowing it to temporarily control the meters in front of its building for deliveries and temporarily blocking meters for events. 

“The City of Dayton recognizes the importance of small businesses in developing a strong local economy. We also are aware of the many challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a business. The City of Dayton remains committed to helping small businesses navigate the local business environment and provide ongoing assistance,” the statement says.

SEE THE COMPLETE FACEBOOK POST AND RESPONSE FROM THE CITY BELOW

Schmidt said the problem is worse in summer, and his customers would often complain about a lack of parking. 

He relied on customers who drive in from the suburbs. 

“My business is to attract people from out-of-town,” he said. “Dayton is not going to support anything.” 

>> Check out these awesome photos of the new Canal Street Arcade & Deli

Schmidt said he tried to run a good business.

“I’ve got the cleanest bar in Dayton and it is multicultural. I have any kind of band you can think of,”  he said. “I am hurt so bad by the way I was treated. I just wanted a place where our age people could come. There has never been a fight in here, never had the cops in here.”

Here is the unedited Facebook post (excerpts are below):   

“12 years ago before his death my Dad asked Me what i wanted to do. I dont know Dad, would like to open a Blues Bar, But man if it dont work, time, effort, money.... I just dont know.... Dad : your right you just dont know, and will never know if you dont. You afraid of failing ? You afarid of what the others might think ? The others who will say I knew it ? The way I see it If you dont then you will always wonder. If it fails then hey You took a chance and you will feel alright requardless of others. Thats what seperates Dreamers and workers from the others. and guess what , You can pick up the pieces and move on. And in the end you did more then 90% of humans who wish they would of. .....Dad, I just wanted a music venue were people could become Friends and relax in a home atmosphere...with no fear of trouble...... He is no longer here physicialy, his words just keep echoing in my head.......
What I am saying is that after a long battle with Everyone from Urban Development, zoning, Mayor, meter maid and everyone else in this city These elected officials, government workers who recieve pay checks from small buisness taxes will and will not do anything about the parking problem In front of the venues on Mick Montgromery way. With That said Riff Raff will close its Doors Sunday with Dallas Moore unplugged. 
After a consultant reviewed and discovery of Riff Raff s Future she gave me the cold hard facts. My buisness depends on people who are from out of town, there is no foot traffic or support from near bye residents. Secondly The City does not enforce the meter laws and will not do anything to disrupt the BaseBall operations, or even talk to them. Thirdly,With Condos going in, restraunts and speciality shops, the parking is only going to double in problems in the future. More or less she feels I would be better off being a grocery store. There is also the stigma of Dayton, Heroin Hub of the midwest, crime, and dangerous when leaving east or west from Riff Raff which keeps people from out of town away. 
I can sit here and trash the Downtown Dayton Partnership, who is paid tax dollars to help but that would just be out of my anger and will not solve anything, and frankly people who live on tax payers money and decide on issue that benifit them in their PC world of friends are as fake as the certificate that hang on their walls. They are the ones whos arms are long enough to pat themselves for their ideas not others.
Ive said enough and I want to Thank all the Customers and Bands who supported Riff Raff the last 5 years. To the Crews that travel from all over, Bob and Angie, Lisa & Jeff, To Carrol who brought a smile to everyone,The Crows and Pettifords, The Bands who stood by us and made it all worth while, Larry and Tony, White Rabbit, Ira, Southbound, Scotty Dan, Sean, Authorized Personnel, Dallas Moore, Termites, The Bands From Columbus, Pett-Crow, Deuce & Quarter..... High Impact , Mo Blues, Tony and Kevin ULE, Blues Society, John and Linda, and So Many more...... again thank you all......
Last but not least is Denny Thornhill his and Sharons tireless effort who got Riff Raff on the Right track and stood by and witness the nightly problems we encountered . No words can exspress mine and Bevs thankfulness. Thank You each and everyone for the memories. In closing I dont know if social media is good or bad when you write something because it doesnt show the tear drop stains on the paper when writting...”

Here is an excerpt from the post, slightly edited for clarity: 

“What I am saying is that after a long battle with everyone from Urban Development, zoning, (the) mayor, meter maid(s) and everyone else in this city, these elected officials, government workers who receive paychecks from small business taxes will and will not do anything about the parking problem in front of the venues on Mick Montgomery Way. With That said, Riff Raff will close its doors Sunday with Dallas Moore Unplugged. 

After a consultant reviewed and discovery of Riff Raff’s future, she gave me the cold hard facts: my business depends on people who are from out of town; there is no foot traffic or support from nearby residents. Secondly the city does not enforce the meter laws and will not do anything to disrupt the baseball operations, or even talk to them.  

Thirdly, with condos going in, restaurants and speciality shops, the parking is only going to double in problems in the future. 

More or less she feels I would be better off being a grocery store. 

There is also the stigma of Dayton, “Heroin Hub of the midwest,” crime, and dangerous when leaving east or west from Riff Raff, which keeps people from out of town away. 

I can sit here and trash the Downtown Dayton Partnership, who is paid tax dollars to help, but that would just be out of my anger and will not solve anything, and frankly people who live on taxpayers’ money and decide on issue that benefit them in their PC world of friends are as fake as the certificate that hang on their walls. They are the ones whose arms are long enough to pat themselves for their ideas not others.”

Here’s the complete response from the city:

We were sorry to learn that Riff Raff Tavern made the hard decision to close its doors. 

 

Prior to that decision, the Dayton Police Department along with other City staff has been working to help find solutions for Riff Raff’s parking concerns. Businesses located in the Urban Business District are not required to provide parking. In addition, parking meters in the public right of way are available on a first-come basis. Despite this, the City offered a variety of concessions to help. Among them, included allowing Riff Raff Tavern to temporarily control the meters in front of its location for deliveries and temporarily block meters to have events. The City also allowed the tavern to utilize the street located directly behind for employee parking despite there being no parking allowed just outside of the tavern.

 

The City of Dayton recognizes the importance of small businesses in developing a strong local economy. We also are aware of the many challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a business. The City of Dayton remains committed to helping small businesses navigate the local business environment and provide ongoing assistance.

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