Businesses looking to bounce back after departure of Operation Thunder

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, June 7, 2013

Operation Thunder

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The streets are quieter and the bars are emptier.

"It's not the same, it's just not what it used to be a few years back," said Anthony Kennedy, who works at The Playground.

This business where he DJs is dead most nights, all because of Operation Thunder and violence downtown.

"Bartenders are losing money because they get tips, you got bar-backs, you got door personnel, security, even your DJs make a percentage off of sales," he said.

With no money coming in, Kennedy won't be bringing in the dough.

"It can be frustrating when you don't make money," he said.

A few years ago, things were much different.

"It was nice, back in 2003 and 2004, First Fridays were very huge, a lot of people came downtown, I mean a lot of people," Kennedy said.

A month after the brutal Riverwalk beating, those people have scattered, going to other areas, like Washington Road.

Deputies with Richmond County say they're just doing their job to keep everyone safe.

"Anything that's proactive that could help with safety or security, we're getting those issues reported immediately," said Lt. Lewis Blanchard of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

They're patrolling everywhere from the Riverwalk to the bars on Broad Street.

"We're working with the different bars as well to provide them some information, lots of posters we put out in bars reminding people not to drink and drive, call a taxi, new taxi numbers," Blanchard said.

"I believe it will come back around, so you just try to always stay positive," Kennedy said.

It's an attitude that Kennedy says you have to have in a business like this.

He's just ready for the drought to be over.

"I'm hoping it goes back to normal tonight and we are filled, everybody's filled downtown, it'd just be nice to go back to normal," Kennedy said.

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