The Launching Pad was once a very popular location in Wilmington, especially amongst high school students (who made up much of the staff). After being sold in 2007, the new owner shifted seemingly did not want to embrace that demographic. Before long there were no more than two employees working at any time, and no high school students. You could often dine in for a meal and be the only customers in the building, something that was unheard of with the previous owners. Tourists would still stop in every day to take pictures of the Gemini Giant, but the residents of Wilmington were no longer frequenting the business very often. As an aside, the new Nelly’s has appeared to fill the void left by the Launching Pad’s shift in focus.
In 2010 the business was put up for sale. Initially the owner tried keeping the sale confidential, but enough hints in the real estate postings pointed to the only possible location being the home of the Gemini Giant. The asking price was $629,000, a remarkably high asking price given the economy and how poorly the business has been run in recent years. You know they aren’t doing well when it’s more profitable to close the business for over three months than to have the doors open. That price would be hard to fetch even when the place was at it’s most popular. Drama also ensued when the owner threatened to sell the Gemini Giant separately if he couldn’t get the price he wanted, a threat to sell the famous Route 66 landmark to a buyer who would potentially move it out of town. The city discussed trying to get the statue designated as a landmark, but nothing more has been heard about the situation since. Two weeks ago the asking price was lowered to $579,000, and that price stands at the time of publishing. The business has not been sold yet and don’t expect it to sell anytime soon unless they can come up with a way to make the Launching Pad the popular destination it used to be.