SEATTLE — They say necessity is the mother of invention and with so many businesses struggling because of the coronavirus, many are getting creative. This is especially true for small business owners who may not be able to get traditional help like unemployment if they shut their doors.
It's not just the customers who have disappeared from Greenwood's North Star Diner. Last week, owners Tony and Kato Lombardi were forced to make a heartbreaking decision: “we kept trying to avoid laying people off and last Sunday, we had to let everyone go."
The co-owners continued doing it on their own preparing takeout and selling it through traditional channels, but they could barely make ends meet. Kato works outside the business, but if they close, Tony likely wouldn't be able to get any unemployment.
“As operating owners, Tony and our co-owner don't draw a salary so they can't show a pay stub and get unemployment and get 60% of nothing,” Kato explained.
They decided to try something different: they put their usual menu on hold and decided to keep it simple.
“One of our more popular items are our breakfast burritos and we decided maybe we could bring those to people where they were and put a post on Facebook and Instagram saying 'how about a burrito to you this weekend?'” Kato explained.
They made the burritos and hit the road, delivering all around Seattle. The response was warm from regulars who are hoping the restaurant will survive this difficult period,
They're grateful the city has stopped evictions and put a hold on business taxes, and if they can ride this out and keep selling burritos, they’re hoping they’ll be able to re-open their doors once again.
“We want to keep it going as long as we can, we want to be able to bounce back so anything we can do to support the community and keep the business going," Tony said.