Harper’s president blames Columbia dining trends for restaurant closure

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Creating an empty hole on not only the corner of Harden Street in Five Points but in the restaurant community as a whole, Harper’s Restaurant abruptly closed Wednesday.

The closing ends Harper’s 27 years in the Five Points community.

“After a great 27 years, Harper’s Restaurant in 5 Points has now closed,” a sign posted on the restaurant’s door reads. “We want to thank all of our loyal guests for all their continued support over the years.”

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In a statement, Harper’s president Tom Sasser blamed restaurant trends over the past few years in the Columbia area that led to the “difficult decision” to close the restaurant.

“We want to thank the many associates who have worked with Harper’s over the years and of course, all of our loyal patrons,” Sasser said. “Harper’s Group will continue to operate the Harper’s brand in Charlotte and Greensboro and hope that Columbia diners will visit next time they are in town.”

“I’m in shock. Like what happened?! You don’t just close a restaurant. Something’s weird about this,” Sabra Lott expressed.

Now, Harper’s most loyal customers have to make the tough decision of where to go from here.

“I’m just in a state of shock right now. I don’t know if I have an appetite for anything else for lunch,” Gwen Felder said.

“I might have to go to Charlotte on my lunch break now,” Jessie Gilmore said. “Take about an hour to get there. I might have to extend my time.”

Five Points Association Executive Director Amy Beth Franks sent this statement to WIS via email:

“The Five Points Association is disheartened to hear the news of long-time Five Points merchant, Harper’s Restaurant, closing its doors. They were an active member of the Association and a beloved business in our village.

Every district goes through change and not unlike the rest of downtown Columbia, Five Points is experiencing tremendous growth. We are excited and optimistic for the future of our community.”

Harper’s joins El Burrito as Five Points staples closing in April. El Burrito planned to close near the end of the month.

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