Smoking Ban Slows Business - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Smoking Ban Slows Business

Dollars are disappearing from some New Mexico businesses now that smoking is illegal in bars and restaurants. The backlash is severe for one Clovis bar owner who says he's lost about half his customers.

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg reports on where the smokers are going and what this means for bar business long term.

It's only been two weeks since the smoking ban went into effect, but the negative impact on bars was immediate and shows no sign of letting up.

"When it first went into effect, seven people at the bar got up and left to go to a private club just because of cigarettes," says Craig Pettigrew, owner of Praince's Lounge.

Those customers left with their wallets and haven't been back.

"Our business has gone down a lot," says Monica Padilla, a waitress at the Lounge.

"Our tips are down, we get a bonus if we do a certain amount of money. I haven't had a bonus in over two weeks. I may have to get a second job because the tips are lousy," says Linda Kelm, who bartends at Prince's.

Mondays use to bring big business to Prince's Lounge, but that all changed on June 15th. There are 15 to 20 less people in the bar right now because of the smoking ban.

"Have you noticed less people?" "Oh there's way less people, this parking lot would be crowded," says Marie, who frequents the bar.

And loyal customers who do smoke have no choice by the head outside.

"Sitting outside smoking it's too hot in the summer, it's too cold in the winter -- it's ridiculous," says Padilla. 

Or they don't come out at all.

"I just stay home more often," says Marie.

Leaving Pettigrew few options to get people back.

We're talking about building a patio or letting people smoke next door in cantina but we can't do that, so i don't know what we're going to do," says Pettigrew.

Pettigrew says he hasn't had any new 'non-smoking' customers come in since the ban. But he hopes that'll change once people get use to the law.

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