“The first time we were shut down was right around St. Patrick’s Day and we got shut down again right around Halloween. It’s crazy. These holidays are big for business.”

“My husband and I were up all last night discussing what we should do. You see the lists of businesses staying open in defiance of the governor’s order and we’re wondering … ‘do we take that route? Or do we just comply? Is it better for us at this point to quit?’”

“Even if you do take a stand, who will come? The population is so divided. Some people say, ‘If you stay open we’ll support you!’ But others say, ‘Hey, who are you to choose money over lives and put the public at risk?’ It’s really hard to know what to do.”

“We’re about a mile away from the Wisconsin border. It’s so sparsely populated around here. We get people from all over that come here. We’ve had people from as far away as Germany come in – they visit family in the suburbs and stop by on their way to Lake Geneva. But our daily operations don’t see a ton of customers. When your competition is a mile away and business is operating as usual, you can’t blame local customers for going a mile away to eat or drink.”

“That’s what happened the first time. We lost about 80% of our business from being shut down. We had to let our staff go and we had our family work, taking phone orders. Our two daughters are driving age and did deliveries. We survived like that. It was fine when Wisconsin was shut down. But once Wisconsin reopened before we did, we lost even more business.”

“We’re fighting for our livelihood. All four of our family members work for this business – we don’t have anyone else bringing in a paycheck. This is it. If we don’t have any income coming in, we can’t pay our bills. You’re taught to save for three months of unexpected emergencies, but we’re well beyond that.”

“You can only ride out your savings for so long. Here we are again eight months later, back to where we started.”

Gina Garbis
Owner, Richmond BratHaus
Richmond, Illinois