It’s no secret that small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and, arguably, no one has been hit harder than local restaurants.
One restaurant that’s experiencing pandemic turmoil is microbrewery Prairie Dog Brewing.
The combination of the Delta and Omicron variants mixed in with Alberta’s vaccine passport mandates hit them hard during the winter and now, they’re turning to the community for help to stay afloat.
About a month ago, Prairie Dog Brewing owner, Laura Coles, and her friend Elaine Howe started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money after a pandemic-slow winter at the brewery.
Staff comes first, rent comes second
So far, the brewery has raised just over $4,000 of its $50,000 goal.
Coles says the money raised is going straight to ensure that their staff are paid properly and that no one has to be laid off from work.
“Right now the focus is to pay our team,” she says. “With the amount that we’ve raised so far, that is going straight to the team.”
Coles says that any extra funds raised will go to paying rent on the building; however, paying the staff is their first priority.
“It wouldn’t be for superfluous spending,” Coles adds.
Coles says she is looking at the fundraiser as a short-term project, just something to get them over this difficult hurdle, and she says they will aim to shut the campaign down by the end of the month.
Hoping things get back to normal
In the meantime, she’s hoping it will be business as usual at Prairie Dog.
“We’re also hopeful that service levels have gone back up and we won’t need it any longer,” Coles says. “We’ll be able to provide those hours organically through people being in a restaurant.”
The support the brewery has received so far has shown Coles that they are an integral part of the community and their supporters want them to succeed.
“The donations so far have just proven to us that our community cares about our team, what we’re doing here, the values we’ve created, and our people,” she says.
After the difficulties they’ve endured during the pandemic, Coles says the support helps them to push forward.
“Because the last few years have been so much of a struggle,” she says. “It gives us that momentum to keep going forward knowing that they’re going to support us.”
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