SUDBURY -- SUDBURY – Pita Pit in downtown Sudbury is closing and the owner says it's partly because the area is too dangerous for employees.

Not long ago, the first homicide of 2019 in Sudbury took place in the area.

"I said give me a sign… am I making the right decision on the right store? When things happened down here I said 'now's the time.' I love my staff. I want what's best for them and it's time to move them to other locations and leave that location," said Penny Peterson, Pita Pit Sudbury.

While Maureen Luoma of Downtown Sudbury acknowledges the core has always struggled with safety issues, she says it's not exclusive to the area.

"Issues in the community have grown and developed immensely in the areas of safety concerns. Downtown gets a spotlight on it because of its area obviously and it's concentration," she explained.

Luoma adds that there is still a strong showing of support for the downtown core, with a dozen openings in recent months and few vacancies.

"If you want something unique, if you want to take part in festivities and festivals, live entertainment, different products, different services, then downtown has strengthened considerably," she continued.

Peterson, who helps run the four Pita Pit locations in Sudbury that her son owns, says they are leaving with fond memories of their first store. She says "downtown was so fun over the years. That's what I want to remember. That's where I want it to be… we had a lot of fun."

She says the Pita Pit downtown will lock up Friday, but staff will all be moved to other locations of the franchise.