Petition to close Shockoe Bottom club

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A petition to permanently shutdown Have a Nice Day Cafe is on Facebook right now and it's very active.

There are already well over a thousand "likes" to the group.

Supporters say it's the center of all the problems in the Shockoe Bottom area.

The group calling for the club to close was started by another Bottom bar owner.

He says he's tired of losing money from people afraid to go to Shockoe Bottom.

But some are arguing it's unfair to single out one business. There's even another Facebook page that's been created in support of the club.

Mac McCormack has worked in Shockoe Bottom bars for 25 years. He currently owns McCormack's Irish Pub in Shockoe Bottom -- only a block away from Have a Nice Day Cafe.

He says he's had enough -- losing 75 percent of his business in the last two years.

"Some of the problems that have been coming out of Have A Nice Day Cafe have been causing a situation where businesses are essentially strangled to a closure point," McCormack said.  "The police presence and things that are going down there (are hurting our businesses)."

Now he's created a Facebook group called "Close Have a Nice Day Cafe".

Less than 48 hours after it was created, it already has more than one thousand people on board.

"I felt like if the community had a voice, the city politicians would see it," he said.  "Maybe we can enact a change with a peaceful protest."

But there are others that think singling out one business for all the recent violence in the neighborhood is unfair.

Matthew Bury works at a restaurant in Shockoe Bottom. He says he's never felt unsafe there.

"People come down here, they're just trying to have a good time," Bury said.  "They probably worked the whole week. They probably just want to cut loose on the weekends."

McCormack says most of the violence has involved people under the age of 21 -- and if the club didn't allow those people -- they'd have no reason to be in the Bottom at all.

"It's not competition, it's destroying the neighborhood," McCormack said.  "It's destroying businesses. Every single place that has gone out of business has named his crowd as the reason they went out of business."

We reached out for comment to one of the managers at Have a Nice Day Cafe but our phone call was not returned.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.