Too’s Spirits Under High could close by the end of September thanks to High Street renovations
‘We were told if we wanted to stay open, we needed to pony up or it was time to beat the pavement’
Ohio State is trying to remove Too's from their High Street location sooner than expected. Unless Scott Ellsworth, the owner of Too's Under High, is able to produce $45,000, the iconic campus bar will be closed by the end of September.
The future of Too's Spirits Under High has been up in the air since fall of last year, when rumors spread that Ohio State was buying up property on High Street to turn into residential complexes.
Now, Too's is the lone tenant in their building on High Street that used to be home to Evolved Body Art and various other businesses. With Campus Partners itching to continue their project to clean up campus, Too's has begun to feel the pressure once again.
Should I start the gofundme or do you want to?
— Lawrence (@5th_ninja_turtl) August 30, 2017
"First we were closing, then we got an extension, then we were closing and then we were getting another extension. It is a lot of stress for all of us, if people realize it or not," said Scott Ellsworth.
Despite the uncertainty of Too's future, the Ohio State community hasn't given up on the campus staple.
When Ellsworth announced that it would cost $45,000 for the bar to stay open past September on Twitter, an OSU alum offered to start a GoFundMe campaign.
Ellsworth politely declined the local support, telling The Tab "If we can't afford to do it ourselves it's not meant to be." A number of buildings in the area around Too's have already been razed to make way for new development.
"We were told that we would be good to stay open through 2017, but that was definitely the final line in the sand. We accepted that Too's gravestone would read 12-31-2017," Ellsworth admitted.
Ellsworth credits the longevity of Too's through the ongoing changes along High Street to the commitment of regulars and staff, his relationship with Erin from Campus Partners, and "being an annoying and persistent asshole who's just trying to save his small business."
With other businesses re-locating and closing, Ellsworth chose to keep Too's open as long as possible while starting another venture further up High Street called Three's Above High.
If Too's hopes to stay open until the new year they will have to fork out a considerable amount of money to make the necessary changes. Those changes include re-routing the utilities, which will cost a pretty penny at $10,000.
"We are the only tenant, so we were told if we wanted to stay open, we needed to pony up or it was time to beat the pavement (my words not theirs). So, I agreed to pay," said Ellsworth.
"Then, I was told I needed to pay an off-duty police officer to sit behind Too's because of safety issues. Again, I'm the only tenant so I get to pony up. We're obviously all for student safety, and I really do appreciate what they are trying to do."
Between paying the off-duty officer and moving the utilities it will cost Too's $45,000 to remain open through December 31st, "that's a shit load of forties to sell and we are still just a dive bar in a basement," said Ellsworth.
Even considering all of the challenges Ellsworth has faced to keep Too's open, he doesn't plan on going anywhere until no other options remain.
"I understand it's probably super annoying for Campus Partners to have to deal with one tenant who doesn't want to leave, as if we're the one guy who won't leave at 2:35 am," he said.
Ellsworth noted the Ohio State community as his reason for wanting to stay open as long as possible. "I owe it to my family, my staff, my regulars and myself to keep that piece of heaven under High there as long as possible and I plan on staying as long as humanly possible."