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Bardstown Road business closings give way to new development in the Highlands | News


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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Steel City Pops is the latest business on Bardstown Road to shut down. Just next door, what used to be Mellow Mushroom pizza has been empty for years.

The CEO of Steel City Pops sent a letter to employees this week saying a tough business cycle and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the business to close its Kentucky stores.

“It was really sad and unfortunate,” said Reese Fisher, regional sales manager of Steel City Pops KY.

Even in her position, Fisher said it came as a surprise.

“I know that we were very busy,” he said. “We were booked. I mean, we had limitations due to staffing shortages, but we were always running around getting people pops. There weren’t a lot of weeks when we weren’t maxed out from Wednesday to Sunday.”

But as one door closes on this block of Bardstown, another opens. It’s not all bad news along what has always been the heart of the Highlands.

The Art Cartel is putting the finishing touches on a mural outside The Wiggle Room, a brand new bar opening above the old Hop Cat location.

“It was sort of a bit of a longtime dream come true,” said JC Denison, co-owner of The Wiggle Room co-owner.

And if you’ve been to the MerryWeather, some of the elements may look familiar. Denison owns that bar, too. He said they’re trying to bring some of the look and feel of the comfortable neighborhood bar like the floor and the red color over to the Highlands.

“I think there might be a little bit of a resurgence and a renaissance going on with local businesses right now,” Denison said. “At least that’s what we’re hoping for. And we think we’re seeing that and we want to be a part of it.”

The Wiggle Room is expected to open in December, one of about a dozen businesses the Highlands Commerce Guild said have opened in the past year in an effort to “keep Louisville weird” amid the pandemic.

“It’s sad that things close, but that gives the opportunity for new things to pop up,” Fisher said. “And that’s what makes Bardstown Road so vibrant and fun.”

Fisher hopes the popsicle business will still be in town, just on a smaller scale.

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