ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s been over a month since the facade started falling off a vacant building in downtown Rochester, but roads are still blocked off.
On April 21, police responded to the former Richford Hotel at 67 Chestnut Street. The panels on the side of the 1915 building had started falling onto nearby sidewalks and roads. As a safety precaution, areas were blocked off to avoid any injuries.
But with little to no traffic through the area, some businesses in the area have been feeling the impact, including the Chinese restaurant, Seasons’ Noodle.
Owner 23-year-old Yunzhi Yan opened the restaurant less than two years ago and he has already had quite the journey.
An immigrant from Bejing, Yan began his career in the restaurant industry in Binghamton. There, he worked with his parents before deciding he wanted to open his own business.
“After working with them for almost two years, I figured out that I want more independence. I want to have my own business so I can take control of it and do whatever I want,” Yan said.
The young entrepreneur decided to move to Rochester because he plans to eventually study piano at the Eastman School of Music. In the meantime, he opened Seasons’ Noodle in the Columbus Building downtown.
“It was pretty stressful, especially because I opened in 2020, so we all know what happened that year,” Yan laughed.
As the owner and sole employee of Seasons’ Noodle, Yan is grateful to be able to serve authentic Northern Chinese dishes to the community. But it’s also come with some challenges.
In the past year-and-a-half, Yan has had to navigate a global pandemic, constantly changing safety regulations, inflation, and now falling facade across the street.
“When this happened, for the first 10 days, I had to close,” Yan said.
With the road and sidewalk closures over the past month, Yan has seen his business impacted tremendously.
“Nobody can have access to my place, so that’s really a big impact,” Yan said. “Most people… they cannot find my entrance because they can’t drive through this street so they cannot find my entrance.”
Yan relies heavily on take-out orders, Uber Eats deliveries and people eating inside his restaurant, but all of these have been affected by the road closures outside his business. While the sidewalk outside his business is now open, getting into the building is a little tricky.
“You’re not making a profit anymore,” Yan said. Adding he is just trying to do whatever to pay his rent and keep up with bills.
But despite the hardships he’s faced in the last two years, Yan is determined to persevere. His wife recently moved to the area and plans to help him add more dishes to their menu and serve the community. He says he’s thankful for those who continue to support him.
“I am pretty sure that without your help, it would be impossible for me to stay in business until now,” Yan said. “If people help each other, support each other, then that is a benefit for the whole community.”
Seasons’ Noodle is open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are open on weekends from noon to 8 p.m.
You can learn more about the restaurant by clicking here.