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Businessman sure of Downtown's resurgence despite neighbor's closure

Posted at 8:26 PM, May 11, 2020

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A business that's managing to thrive amid economic devastation at the hands of COVID-19 is reacting to the impact the novel coronavirus is having on Downtown Corpus Christi, including forcing a popular piano bar to go out of business.

"I tell you it’s been kind of crazy, because (COVID-19) has devastated Downtown," Impact Marketing owner Ted Cohen said. "It’s like a ghost town down here. But everybody’s trying to get ready to come back.”

A comeback is not likely for Moonshine and Ale. The piano bar recently closed and removed labels with the bar's name on them from its windows. All signs point to a permanent closure, but local economic leaders are optimistic others will get new life once the pandemic ends.

"There are a significant number of businesses that have closed," United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John LaRue said. "Hopefully most of them can reopen. But it’s a difficult environment out there right now: There’s no question about it.”

The secret to Impact Marketing's success was an adaptation Cohen made during the early days of the pandemic.

"When this all started, our business went almost to zero," he said. "So I decided 'We’re going to sell masks and hand sanitizer.' ”

Through a reliable supplier Cohen had worked with before the pandemic, he estimates that he's received and sold more than half a million masks.

Impact Marketing has been in business on Schatzell Street for 16 years. Cohen said he's seen firsthand the city's efforts to make Downtown more attractive to people and businesses, and he thinks COVID-19 will not erase the progress that's been made.

"(Downtown is) coming back," he said. "It was right on the verge of coming back really nice, and I think it still will."