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Kristine Mathers, along with her brother Jacob Beck and his partner, Joanne Moyes, spent roughly $80,000 renovating the restaurant between 2018 and 2019. They brought in new furniture and shiplapped walls, replaced fixtures, refinished the wood floors and updated the kitchen.
“We painted every single inch of that space,” said Mathers, who has worked at the restaurant since she was 17.
They also used an agency to update their marketing for a younger demographic. By the time the pandemic hit, they said they had paid off $60,000 of their initial investments.
Their parents never really left the restaurant, Mathers said. After the place switched hands, her mom still came in to bake the layer and meringue cakes. Her dad still drove around picking up ingredients.
Mathers found that her dad had a way of just glancing around the dining room and knowing what it needed.
“He’d just pop down all of a sudden and be like, ‘Kristine, do you need ice?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh wow, dad, yeah I do need ice,” she said. “He’d just be, ‘Oh yeah, I figured it was busy enough.’”
The restaurant closed for two months after Christmas 2019, since January and February were historically slow. It reopened in March and they had two decent weeks before the economic lockdown orders came in because of COVID-19.
“We took out our first loan the first week,” Mathers said. “We’re slowly watching that loan go down and absolutely no money come in.”
Through the spring, the restaurant crept further into debt. The siblings opted to take the federal government’s interest-free $40,000 loan. They applied for the federal wage subsidy program, too.