George Strifas, owner of the Colony Diner, has long campaigned for a new arena at Nassau Coliseum and news of the Islanders' relocation to the Barclays Center Brooklyn is personally upsetting.
"It's a quality of life issue," he said. "No more concerts here, no more circus for my kids, no more home shows, boat show, which are great. I can't see an arena staying there without a full-time tenant."
As far as his Hempstead Turnpike diner is concerned, Strifas says it's definitely going to take a financial toll on all nearby eateries.
"As a business owner, it hurts all of us in the area, he said. "It's jobs in the area -- you get employees of the arena coming in well after a game, 12 a.m. ... You see 20 to 30 tables of Islander fans going to the game. On top of that, it brought Islander fans from Suffolk County or parts of Nassau County that never knew we were here. It created regular customers for us."
Frank Borrelli, owner of Borrelli's on Hempstead Turnpike said taxpayers who voted down last year's referendum are to blame for the Islanders moving out of the Nassau Coliseum in 2015.
"The taxpayers got their wish to not build a a new coliseum when the Islanders said they were leaving and the coliseum may fold," Borrelli said. "We could have built a state-of-the-art facility like Barclays, but the county chased out one of our strongest clients that provide major revenue for Nassau."
Despite the news, Borrelli says his loyal customer base should carry him through.
"We have a lot of loyal customers so business is strong," he said. "But the Islanders and the Coliseum events do help me pay the high taxes that I have to pay in Nassau County. We have been here 57 years before the Islanders and I am sure we will be here when they leave. When one door closes another one opens."
Hooters closed its doors after being in East Meadow for more than 10 years. Edward McCabe, an attorney for Strix Restaurant Group, which owns the franchise rights to Hooters locations on Long Island and Queens, said that the Nassau Coliseum was the main reason that the eatery was brought to East Meadow.
"The store was built because of the Nassau Coliseum, but now there are not as many shows there and the Islanders are not playing there anymore," he said. "That really hurt business."
With reporting by Danielle DeSouza and Matthew Hogan