GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – At Flo’s Pizzeria on Plainfield Avenue, their goal is to help customers, but also to make it through another week.
“We work twice as hard because we have to make sure we can keep these doors open every day,” said David Uccello, co-owner.
Uccello says that like most businesses, his has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. He estimates a 50% drop in sales in 2020 and profits of about $ 0 in 2020. He says they had to lay off about 50% of their staff at their sites, or 90 employees.
“Getting those phone calls sometimes from employees saying they can’t pay their rent or that they can’t put food on their tables for their children is heartbreaking,” Uccello said.
So when someone, or in this case another business in West Michigan, focuses on helping Flo deal with these effects, Uccello says it means a lot.
“Buying these gift cards doesn’t solve all of our problems,” Uccello said. “What it does, however, is it gives us hope, the feeling that the community is behind us. That right is more important than the financial aspect of this program.
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Flo’s is part of a comeback initiative launched last week by Baragar Realty.
Jessie Baragar, co-owner, said over the next 20 weeks they will be giving away $ 21 gift cards to restaurants in northeast Grand Rapids.
“[We] kind of wanted to make a new year play-off, ”Baragar said. “I really try to keep the feeling here; keep those mom-and-pop stores open and thriving. They’re the ones supporting all the little local leagues with us and everything, so from one business owner to another I think it’s really important to try to find a way to help.
Baragar says his father came up with the idea.
Only one gift card will be offered each week, but to participate people need to ‘like’ Baragar Realty and restaurant social media pages and then comment on Baragar’s post on why they like the place that week. .
Baragar believes the interaction adds to the program by generating buzz and inspiring people to try this week’s restaurant.
“The more we can come together as a community like this and support each other… I think that’s really a really positive thing in every way,” said Baragar.
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Uccello hopes this will simply inspire people in western Michigan to focus on how they can support each other.
“If you can afford it, if you’re in an industry that hasn’t necessarily been affected or has been affected in a positive way, that there actually are those industries, try to reach out,” said Uccello. “Try to create some kind of initiative so that your community can improve it. “
To follow Baragar, click on here.
Other participating restaurants include Fat Boy Burgers, Graydon’s Crossing, Charlie’s, Choo Choo Grill, Bud & Stanley’s, Fred’s, Robinette’s, Anna’s House, River North Public House, Taco Boy, Lucy’s, Switchback Coffee, Cheers, Kitchen 67, Russ’, The Score, Loco Taco, Bostwick Bakery and Licari’s Pizza.