Cache Valley Restaurants Form Co-Op To Help Stay In Business
LOGAN, Utah – Some Cache Valley restaurant owners have banding together to formed a co-op to try and get more business, at a time when their dining areas remain closed by order of the health department.
The effort started with a way to offer free delivery to customers, but was also a way to show solidarity, encourage community support and simply keep a few more people employed during the coming weeks.
The lunchtime rush Thursday was not what it was before the coronavirus pandemic, but at Cafe Sabor in Logan, it was still relatively busy.
Keone Tupuola has been running delivery for several restaurants – all free to customers, to encourage people to keep supporting local business.
“It’s been a nice way to reach out to the community. We’ve been able to reach all the way up to Richmond, all the way out to Hyrum (and) Wellsville,” he said.
“We’ve all kind of been seeing this on the horizon for the last few weeks,” said Café Sabor owner Justin Hamilton.
He said the idea came after another restaurant owner shared those same concerns.
“As business owners, the first thing you go to is, how are we going to take care of our employees,” said Hamilton.
While they may not be able to support as many as before, the effort has saved at least a few jobs.
“Using our catering vehicles, and using what resources we have, we kind of just rallied together to use the employees to be able to support those restaurants that need deliveries,” he said.
About a couple-dozen restaurants so far have joined the effort. Almost overnight, the Cache Valley Media group got a website up and running for the restaurants.
“Those servers and those catering employees have been able to be made whole, like they’ve made just as much as they’d make, just serving in the restaurant,” said Hamilton.
The challenge, going forward was making sure the community gets the message that these restaurant were still open. The Cache Valley Visitors Bureau is helping with that.
“The tourism industry has been devastated by the virus,” said Visitors Bureau director, Julie Hollist Terrill,
She said it only made sense for restaurants to shift their focus.
“We should be tourists in our own back yard anyway, but this is the best time to take advantage of it, and really to come together as a community to support businesses that otherwise are struggling,” she said.
They hope with this combined effort, the restaurants will survive the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hamilton said new restaurants were constantly being added to the group, and there were already efforts underway to start a similar cooperative for restaurants in the St. George area.
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