Brad & Mari Bork
Scratch Restaurant & Rain Lounge
1007 W. 1st Ave, Spokane
There are no sectors of society that will remain unaffected by this pandemic. For the small business owners, however, especially those in the hospitality industry, the effects will be cataclysmic, and unfortunately for some, insurmountable.
I applaud and encourage my friends and fellow restaurant owners who have re-imagined their businesses in an effort to provide take-out meals, but for us, it wasn’t a viable or financially responsible option.
Of course, if this mandatory shutdown of dine-in establishments is prolonged, we will design a to-go menu that still allows us to prepare quality meals with fresh ingredients that will travel and reheat well. For the sake of our employees, and our loyal guests, we are optimistic (maybe naively) that we will be reopening on April 1.
The future is still somewhat terrifying. Much of our business stems from events at the Fox Theater and the Montvale Event Center and Hotel. When their attendance or occupancy numbers dwindle, so do ours; tourism is essential to the downtown economy.
Since Washington state was tragically being hailed as the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., it’s possible we’ll see the ripple effects of fear for quite some time. It will be hard to overcome the stigma and prejudice.
We’re industry people, though. If we wanted it all to be easy, we would’ve chosen different professions.
I appreciate our crew (we’re like family) and the community we serve. Spokane is a supportive and wonderful place, and every single day, we’re proud to call it home.
The Well Coffeehouse Pub & Eatery
21980 E. Country Vista Dr., Liberty Lake
After opening in 2016, I felt like I had taken the next steps with my business at the beginning of February this year.
I started as a health food restaurant offering local and sustainable foods. But earlier this year, for three days a week, Monday through Wednesday, I closed the business to the general public for private events. They were events that ranged anywhere from supervisors hosting office meetings for their employees, to even more intimate social gatherings among friends.
My business is run in 1,000 square feet of space, so it proved to be an ideal location for just such events. I offered co-working space for $25 per hour up to five hours, free and private 30-minute nutrition consultations and private catered events.
It was going really well. I was getting bookings.
But then the threat of the spread of the coronavirus has brought that effort to an end. I laid off four workers to start the week of March 16, and right now, I’m the only employee.
I will remain open, but public perception is a battle, and I’m not going to fight that fight. I will continue promoting health and wellness, but in the end, most small restaurants will be closed. We don’t have a week or two of cash-flow excess.
I haven’t seen more than 10 customers in any one day since the calls for maintaining distance and the governor imposed a closure of all restaurants and bars began.
The Well’s only saving grace are the angels who are supporting the small local restaurants on a daily basis. One in particular bought 47 $25 gift cards. That’s the 1% trying to save us little guys. I’d rather it come from them and not from the government.
Celeste Estrada & Judy Cash
1406 W. Northwest Blvd., Spokane
In October of 2018, we partnered to create FitFlavors Spokane, a healthy meal prep and delivery service located just four blocks west of Monroe Street on Spokane’s North Side.
Our first 18 months were rough, which is not unusual. But we made it through a full business cycle and were looking for 2020 to be our year. Spring is where we’ve seen a surge in business as people start thinking about summer days by the pool or at the lake. But with the recent developments surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus, we’ve seen a steady decline in orders while experiencing the difficulty of finding the products needed for the orders we do get.
Despite this, we plan to persevere through this crisis, and will be here to take care of our clients as long as we can.
Who knows? With community support for local and small businesses, 2020 could be our year after all.
Elaine & Todd Damschen
Mainstream Electric Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, Spokane Valley
12822 E. Indiana Ave., Spokane Valley
It’s our job as leaders to remain positive and optimistic and to provide certainty to our staff of nearly 50 team members during uncertain times.
Having started Mainstream Electric 20 years ago, it feels like the Great Recession of 2008 was a practice session to prepare us for COVID-19.
As a home service company, we’re considered essential, which keeps us on the front line, helping homeowners stay safe and comfortable. Our goal during this global pandemic is to keep as many of our staff working and to keep the doors open.
We’re taking it day to day. As more shelter-in-place orders are made by local governments, homeowners are using their heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing systems more, causing more breakdowns of systems.
Our customer service team is practicing social distancing and answering calls from home. Our technicians are wearing gloves and masks and will respect and honor any additional home safety requests.
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