A new campaign video by Mitt Romney focuses on the closure of a Richmond restaurant institution as an example of President Barack Obama's failure with the economy.
Bill's Barbecue President Rhoda Elliott tells the story of the chain's closure after more than 80 years in the two-and-a-half minute video. At the end of the video, text on screen reads "Bill's Barbecue couldn't take four years under President Obama. Can we afford four more?"
"When President Obama took office there was a lot of hope that things were going to change. Well, he didn't change anything," Elliott says in the video. "There are more people on unemployment today and that's because the small businesses are failing because we can't make it. Things have not changed, the pattern is no different now except for worse than it was four years ago. We can't stand four more years like it is today."
The first Bill's Barbecue opened in Richmond in 1930. At one point, Bill's operated as many as 13 locations around the area. As recently as 2010 the chain was opening new locations, including one at Regency Square mall. However, the family business was forced to close five locations and eliminate 20 jobs in a failed attempt to reduce the impact of a bad economy earlier this year.
After several months, the family shut down all its remaining stores in September. At the time the owners said several factors played into the closing, including the tough economy and the significant cost of upgrading its operations. Huge crowds showed up to purchase souvenirs from the business at an auction, known for its limeades, barbecue and pies.
The Richardson family, in a press release, signed off on 82 years in business by saying, "We give our utmost thanks and appreciation to our loyal employees, customers, and friends. May God bless you all."
Elliott told NBC12 in February she would consider accepting food stamps, if federal rules allowed the practice.
"I think it opens a new market for us and we'd love to have it," said Elliott for a story about Yum! brands request to expand the food stamp program. "If they come here, they will actually get a hot meal. They will get a more nutritious meal. Even if they opted not for french fries, if they got baked beans, a wonderful, nutritional food, baked apples, and all restaurants have those kinds of choices."
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