Harry’s place opened in 1921, and for decades the bar and grille have remained the go-to spot for Lansing General Motors employees.
But the fourth-generation restaurant is no stranger to struggle. Former owner Art Arvanites says he remembers in 1945 when GM workers were on strike for over 100 days. And again in the 70s when they were on strike for nearly 70 days.
“Those strikes were extremely bad….within a week you feel it,” say Arvanites.
His daughter, Harea Bates who now owns Harry’s Place says feeling the financial impact of the strike if it goes on too long, is inevitable.
“It’s a trickle effect ya know when the employees aren’t getting paid they’re not spending the money out in the community.”
Harry’s Place took the biggest hit in 2005 when the Lansing Car Assembly Plant shuttered. Harry’s place is just a few steps away from the former plant.
“It took us a good five years to revamp because that was over 90% of our business,” says Bates.
With the United Auto Workers strike going into day 23 with no end in sight, Bates has this advice for struggling businesses.
“Just stay strong and let them know that you support them because they’re the ones that are feeling the worse part of it.”