LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After 12 years in business, Cole’s Place has closed its doors.
Owner John Cole confirmed Sunday afternoon that the club would celebrate its anniversary Sunday night at 7 p.m., then close its doors for good. In a post on the club’s Facebook page, Cole’s Place said it was closing, and was praying for the city.
John Cole said he would take the liquor license off the wall as soon as the bar closed Sunday, so he can continue to be a positive force in the neighborhood he cares so deeply about.
“It’s more than just a bar or nightclub,” said Cole.
“My fondest memories here are always coming here and having a nice relaxing time,” said one regular, Crystle Davis. “That gentlemen takes care of the community and does everything he can.”
Cole’s Place has drawn attention for frequent violence and shootings, overshadowing the good that radiates from it.
“I’ve seen give money to people, I’ve seen him buy uniforms for children he don’t even know,” said another regular, Keith Woodley. “He does holidays like trick-or-treat that kind of stuff for kids in the neighborhood, but people don’t understand what he has done for this neighborhood.”
Cole has held countless community events that focus on the children and families in need, supporting his fellow neighbors and hosting meetings to find solutions to the violence that has left its mark on this gathering place.
“Cole does not deserve the negativity,” said regular, Susan Banks.
You wouldn’t know from the smiles that this was a crime scene earlier the same day.
Mr. Cole said enough is enough, and said his decision to close was partly influenced by a shooting that took place at the club during an event Saturday night.
“When it happened, it just took the wind out of me,” said Cole.
He swore that shooting would be the last and it was time to shut the club down.
“I wish it was different, but when you’re fed up, your fed up,” said another long-time customer, Sean Smyzer. “It’s an end of an era.”
“Cole’s will go on, I’m going to be here for my community,” assures Cole.
He said he will continue to host the baby showers and memorials he offers for free, as well as any other community events and work he does out of the building. It will be a more private venue. Cole said he wants to “get away from the younger generation” and it’s “time to change the pace and do something different.”
Cole’s Place has been the site of many shootings of record, including one in March in which police say 31-year-old Kenneth Mattingly injured seven people.
Six people were also shot in 2015, including a pregnant woman. In that instance, police say the shooter jumped a fence and began firing on people in a courtyard.