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Wallingford business stays lively despite coronavirus

The Wells Fargo bank on North Main Street in Wallingford, which was closed for many months after the pandemic began last spring, is scheduled to close for good on May 19. This follows the closing last year of the Wells Fargo branch that was downtown Meriden’s last bank, and of the Bank of America branch on Center Street in Wallingford that is now a holistic wellness center.

In terms of businesses that bring daytime traffic to city and town centers, none of this is good news. The trend for years has been that people are doing more and more banking and shopping online, and the pandemic has struck these businesses another hard blow.

And that means consolidating operations to increase efficiency and improve the bottom line.

But uptown Wallingford may be a special case. The area around Simpson Court has long been able to draw customers for dining and nightlife, with Michael’s Trattoria, Archie Moore’s, Gaetano’s Tavern on Main, The Library Wine Bar & Bistro, The Half Moon Cafe and other spots among the attractions.

The area seems to be doing well, despite this pandemic, and should do even better whenever the pandemic finally breaks.

As for the Wells Fargo building — the former site of the Moses Y. Beach house — “It is right in our downtown so I think it should turn over quickly because people are looking for some larger properties now,” said Kathy Lilley, executive director of Wallingford Center Inc., a private nonprofit created to preserve and revitalize the downtown.

“It would be nice to have a restaurant in at least part of that,” Lilley said.

Back when the pandemic began, entrepreneurs had been scouting locations downtown. A wine bar and a restaurant were possibly in the mix.

Now, with a steak and chops restaurant set to move into the space that used to be Jake’s, on Center Street, Wallingford center’s stance as a lively entertainment district seems assured.

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