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Orion sushi bar closes

The Orion Sushi Bar & Lounge in downtown Fredericksburg closed its doors Monday, just two days shy of its one-year anniversary.

The restaurant featured sushi as well as American entrées, cocktails and dancing on weekend nights.

Local entrepreneur and owner Ryan Bullock said that in recent months the restaurant was slow and the terms in his lease agreement for the building at 318 William St. did not allow him to bring in another partner.

Bullock spent more than $750,000 on the restaurant’s build-out, and said he didn’t think Fredericksburg was ready for his “big-city concept.”

The Orion wasn’t his first venture into Fredericksburg-area business.

At age 17 he was the youngest manager of a local Giant Food Stores. Then, after attending college at Full Sail University, he became the assistant general manager of Muvico when it first opened at age 21.

He then opened The Fredericksburg Haunted House and The Tree House Lounge.

And at 24 years old, Bullock announced was a candidate for mayor of Fredericksburg in 2012, but dropped out of the race and never appeared on the ballot.

He said those experiences, and his year running The Orion have resulted in valuable business lessons.

“Many people don’t understand what it’s like to truly own your own business and the amount of stress that comes along with it,” he said. “You work 80-hour weeks, no vacations or holidays off, and the stress becomes somewhat manageable when you’re still in the green, but the slightest little hiccup can become a domino effect.”

He said creating strong relationships with other businesses is imperative to running a successful operation. He turned to Foode owners Beth Black and Joy Crump for advice on his business and said that relationship kept his head above water as business dropped off.

Bullock will be moving out of the city at the end of the month to pursue new opportunities. He has two job offers elsewhere.

The 3,000-square-foot space leased next to Castiglia’s for The Orion is owned by Luigi Castiglia and is currently unoccupied.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976