Long-time downtown Fresno eatery closes

FRESNO, Calif.

Unfortunately, the list will continue to grow. Experts say many business owners are waiting to see whether they can first recover from the recession.

The Original Coney Island served downtown Fresno for 86 years. The sign outside says "Due to the economic climate, we are unable to open any longer."

A lot of memories are locked up inside this place. Anastasia Martinez' grandfather used to take her here when she was five.

Martinez said, "We used to come every Sunday but now that we're older with kids it's hard to come down here and it's heart-breaking to see this place close."

Nearby Chukchansi Park brought some walk-in traffic, but not enough to keep Coney Island going.

Fresno Chamber of Commerce CEO Al Smith says the closure is the latest in a troubling business trend. "I would guess there are more closing than opening. It's been a tough, tough time for people in the business community right now."

Smith says many struggling businesses are just trying to hang on. He added, "Business people I think are just cautious. They're not quite sure how much they want to invest in the future until they know things about the economy."

Wonderland Comics near the Tower District may be the next to fall. After 26 years in the same location, owner Wayne Barber may be forced to close at the end of the month. Barber said, "I think there's a good chance but I really don't know. I'm really hoping because this is my life."

Barber specializes in collectible comics, a tough sell when money's tight. Superman number-23 dates back to World War-Two. Barber said, "I have a few hundred-thousand comics in the back which I'll be selling for one to three dollars apiece."

Comics have always offered readers an escape but Barber's last ditch sale might not help him escape financial hardship.

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