small businesses

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Get Through Coronavirus Pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

While the coronavirus pandemic has changed just about everything in our lives there is one thing it hasn't been able to change in our community: the spirit of goodwill. 

Christine Perez has operated Café Madeleine for a decade, a successful Café by all accounts. She was able to open a second location five years ago, but 2020 changed all that.  Revenues are down, hours have had to be shortened and long-time employees have had to be laid off. 

“Probably the most difficult thing right now is trying to figure out what is the balance,” Perez said. “At what point are you going to walk away and say, Ok, I can’t lose it all.’”

And the constantly changing restrictions don’t help either, she says.

“It’s always changing,” Perez said. “We don’t know from one day to the next what the rules are going to be.”

So, in an effort to get ahead of the game, Perez knew she had to transform her café.

“I don’t think people are going to run back into a café and sit in close proximity to one another,” Perez said.

She believes outdoor dining will be the new way to do things. Perez hired Jennifer Edery to build her restaurant a deck.

“For businesses, it’s hard now and as a friend (of Christine’s) I thought I’d come out and help her build this deck and allow her to move on and continue to make money, '' Jennifer Edery said.

Edery knows first-hand what it feels like to be financially impacted by COVID-19 after 20 years as a truck driver left her job to keep her family safe.

“My spouse has Lyme disease so, her immune system is compromised,” Edery said.

Edery left the road and picked up a hammer, she tried her hand at construction and when Perez needed a deck - it was a perfect fit. 

“I’ve known Jennifer for about seven years and I knew she was looking for work and I reached out to her,” Perez said.

Both friends joining forces in hopes of bringing some relief to each other's lives. 

“We’re helping each other out, so it’s a win win,” Perez said.

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