Restaurants, Coffee House See Drop In Business Due to COVID-19

With business falling dramatically due to the pandemic, Jake’s Horses & Harleys received a special delivery order for 22 pizzas as an act of kindness by an area employer.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts urged Nebraskans last week to support their dining establishments by ordering takeout and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many Nebraskans have made a commitment to regularly order food and drinks from their local coffee house or restaurant during the pandemic. These efforts are helping our dining establishments meet payroll and keep the lights on. Last week, KMTV reported that Nebraska ranks #2 in the nation for supporting dining establishments by ordering takeout and delivery. I urge Nebraskans to continue to participate in Takeout Tuesday each week and to shop online using delivery from local retailers every day. I know our small businesses are extremely grateful for the ongoing support they’ve received from their communities in recent weeks.” – Governor Pete Ricketts

In the community of Arnold, dining establishments appreciate that support – and the support of locals who continue to do business with them. They are struggling, with some seeing as much as a 75% drop in business.

“Honestly, at first it wasn’t as pronounced until we got some infectious cases noted in our area,” said Annie Vettel, who co-owns Grazers Bar & Grill with Jesse Halstead. “We were doing pretty good until we finally got a case in Callaway. People recognized the emanate threat.”

Grazers closed down their dining area to customers and moved only to take-out orders prior to the Governor’s mandate.

“We shut down (the dining area) because we had seen a lot of out of town customers come in that had been from other communities that had been shut down who were looking for a place to eat in. We wanted to protect our community and ourselves,” said Annie.

Fortunately, when Grazers remodeled the building, they had installed a pass through win dow to the beer garden for special events and summertime activities that lends itself perfectly to carry out orders.

“When I serve out of the window, I usually wear a mask and gloves to protect myself and the customer. The kitchen staff is also wearing gloves for food preparation,” she said.

Jake’s Horses & Harleys shut down their dining area on the day the Governor asked them to. At that time, business was down 50%. Owner Julie Jacobson said that business is down 75% now.

“Customers are welcome to come inside and pick up or we will do curbside or delivery,” she said. “I’ve been in the food business over 35 years and customer health and cleanliness has been our #1 concern since the very beginning. We’ve always complied with health department rules and the CDC, but we are even more stringent now. We’ve stepped up our game.”

The Exchange owners Kris and Blaine Hagler also closed down the dining room before it was mandated after receiving a call from Patty at the village after a meeting was held with the county. Kris said they weren’t surprised at all.

The Exchange encourages their customers to call ahead and meals can be delivered outside, which Kris feels is much healthier for everyone. People are still coming in and out for the convenience store side. Their business is down about 40 percent.

“We are still doing senior meals and have our buffet up. Almost all of the seniors are taking advantage of the meals, which is good. I’m very glad about that,” said Kris. “We’re like everyone else, trying to do our best to support our community, but yet keep the community healthy.”

BrewBakers Coffhouse & Gifts is keeping their normal hours.

“We do see a significant decrease in revenue and traffic; however, we’ve also seen that patrons that do come in show great appreciation that we are still open. They’re happy that they have somewhere to go locally. We are happy to be open and they still allow us to be open. In turn, we respect the policies in place of no more than 10 people at a time and keeping everyone six feet apart still applies to us,” said owner Jodi Carlson.

article by: Janet Larreau

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