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Massillon businesses learning to survive after Affinity Medical Center's closure

Posted at 5:43 PM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 17:47:20-05

Massillon city leaders have inked a deal with Quorum that would allow the city to take ownership of the Affinity Medical Center property as well as some of the medical equipment inside.

While many around town hope that the hospital can re-open in some capacity, nothing concrete has been announced yet. Multiple options have been floated around, including turning it into a community hospital or an employee-owned operation. The possibility exists that another company could purchase the property from the city.

The city will take control of the property at the end of the month.

If or when that day comes, Kasunick said Kraus’ Pizza will be ready to serve the next generation. Until then, he remains confident that the restaurant’s brand and history in Massillon will let it persevere.

“We’ve got a lot of history on our side and hopefully we are continuing that tradition,” Kasunick said. “Hopefully that continues to be the case. We look forward to that.”

It is in the heart of Massillon and for more than a century the city revolved around it. Now that Affinity Medical Center has closed, however, businesses that catered to the hospital and its hundreds of patients and employees are feeling the pinch.

Kraus’ Pizza, which is located almost directly in front of the now-shuttered Affinity Medical Center, has been a frequent stop for hospital staff, patients and their families since it opened in the 1950s. Co-owner Todd Kasunick said the hospital accounted for roughly 40% of the usual lunch crowd.

Not anymore.

“I would say [business is] down about 10% overall, give or take,” Kasunick said. “It has affected a lot of people. I think that’s why some people are so hesitant to spent money.”

The dip in business is, undoubtedly, a body blow but it’s far from a knockout, Kasunick said. Other businesses in Massillon that serviced the hospital are also seeing similar declines. Affinity Medical Center closed nearly a month ago after its parent company, Quorum Health, pulled the plug following years of unprofitability, company officials previously said.