Amherstburg's 'The Fort' Closes Due to Pandemic Challenges

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The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another local small business.

The Fort Fun Centre in Amherstburg has officially closed its doors and Owner Brad Hearn says, after a year of closures, the latest month long lockdown was the final nail in the coffin.

"Two years ago, before COVID, our sales were somewhere around $2-million and in 2020 they were just under $100,000," he says. "Telling us to open one week, close two weeks later, bring staff back, don't bring staff back. You can't operate a business like that."

Hearn says the decision to close was not an easy one to make, adding "Like every other small business owner, your heart and soul is into it. You try to fund it the best you can, but at the end of the day how much money do you want to lose? The hole is too deep to get back out of. Hell, I won't live that long."

According to Hearn, the latest provincial government grant never came through.

"Promising we're here for you to help you. Well, you're really not," he says. "The last $20,000 grant that was out there, the provincial one, it's on somebody's desk. We applied for it months ago. Apparently it's under review. Well I could show them our bank account. I don't know what they've got to review."

Hearn wants to thank the local community for its support over the years. 

The Fort opened in the former Verdi Club on Texas Rdoad in 2017 — at its peak the establishment employed 80 people.