HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Philadelphia Steaks and Hoagies has been a part of the downtown lunch experience in Harrisburg for more than four decades. Until, owner, Ben Kowalczyk, decided to shut down the business on March 13, 2020, and it remained closed for 17 months.

“There were no people in the area, it was like a ghost town,” Kowalczyk said. “We knew we couldn’t make any money.”

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Kowalczyk reopened about a month ago and is looking forward to seeing more customers.

“We are glad to see them and they are glad to see us,” Kowalczyk said. “We want to stay open and provide quality service.”

Denim Coffee opened up on the same block back in May. Owner, Matthew Ramsey, says opening a new business during a pandemic created challenges, but they were ready to move forward.

“We started this project two years before the pandemic,” Ramsey said. “We had signed a lease, and we were going to keep our word.”

Ramsey says they have locations in Carlisle and Chambersburg, and when they opened in Harrisburg, sales were down 70 percent.

“We didn’t see a lot of people in the beginning,” Ramsey said. “But more people are starting to return to their downtown offices, and they are stopping in to see us.”

Ramsey says it’s important to remain flexible during the pandemic because things can change quickly.

“We will continue to monitor that cases, and we will make any necessary changes to give our customers what they want and keep them safe,” Ramsey said.