Nearby Businesses Eager To Have DSO Back

Apr 5, 2011

Musicians with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have agreed to come back to work, under a tentative labor agreement reached this weekend. There are few details, but the deal appears to bring the six-month strike to an end.

Musicians are now scheduled to perform free patron concerts this Saturday and Sunday.  The players haven't formally ratified the deal yet, but the fact that the end is in sight is putting smiles on the faces of those who depend on the revenue the DSO generates, including Carolyn Howard, who co-owns The Traffic Jam Restaurant just few blocks from Max M. Fisher Music Center. She says she's elated.

"The DSO is such a big part of this neighborhood," she says. "They draw countless people weekly, they have a long season and their supporters are legion and loyal and to have them off for so long it hurt the city and to have them back is going to be great."

Just down the street, at Mario's Restaurant, the news that the musicians are coming back to work was also greeted with a smile. Sitting near the restaurant's bustling bar, manager Jake Graham could hardly contain his grin.  

"99 percent of our business is event driven...people don't want to come down from the burbs just to have a dinner. They stop at Mario's before they go to the symphony or the opera or whatever it might be," he says. "So with that big chunk, the symphony patrons not being here, we've noticed it here tremendously and boy we're glad to hear some good news...light at the end of the tunnel."

Graham says it's not only about the income.

"You know there is buzz that comes with it...when there is a great symphony or something everybody is excited about it and boy it's been missed let me tell you...it's been missed," he says.

The musicians are expected to vote on the agreement later this week. According to the DSO, they start rehearsing on Thursday. For Midtown businesses, the return can't come soon enough.