“My husband, Mike, and I bought an existing restaurant that was for sale, and we incorporated in October of 2019. He is from Jordan and specializes in the restaurant industry. Together we decided to buy this restaurant as a family legacy, and we have goals of making this a chain.”

“We opened during winter – the slowest time of the year. Sales were immediately slower than usual because of the season, which we expected. Due to COVID, however, there was no traffic, and the mandates started limiting what we could do to be open. It was really scary.”

“I was also pregnant at the time, so we were terrified of my husband bringing it home. He continued to work anyway, reducing staff hours and eliminated his own compensation. By March, we were forced to shut down by the simple fact that it was costing us money to be open every day and virtually no one was eating out. In the few days that followed, the mandates came out and we had no choice but to remain closed.”

“During the shutdown, we decided to do our remodel. We got really creative. When it came to funding, we had a super limited budget. We basically put everything we had into this remodel, making sure that we had a concept that the people of Buffalo Grove would enjoy.”

“Finally, we opened back up in July. It took so long because with all of the COVID restrictions, we didn’t really know when to open because people still didn’t seem to be eating out. But by that point, I had the baby, and we needed income to pay our medical bills.”

“We opened the doors with a big grand opening over the Fourth of July weekend, put what we had left into a tent rental, DJ and balloon lady, but barely anyone came. So, we were really struggling financially.”

“We were able to get loans, and those funds went right out to all of our vendors and paid employees for the time that they worked when we had no revenue to pay them.”

“The issue with the PPP loan is that they give you all these resources to borrow money, but if you go out of business, then you go out of business. And now you’re 100 grand in debt. We have all this debt from paying bills for a business that was producing no revenue.”

“We received an offer to sell our newly remodeled restaurant in July for less than a quarter of what we put into it. We were too insulted to consider it and hoped that our business would magically come back to life or that we would be the recipient of a grant that would give us the wherewithal to stay open. That was not the case.”
“We have commitments with the vendors, and the lease for the property. We’ve just created payment plans for everyone and will be paying our loans like a mortgage for the next 30 years.”

“All of this and we are still struggling to pay the bills that continue as the revenue does not.”

“Mid-November, my husband called and told me the gas company was ready to shut off the gas. So, as a final attempt to save our business, we made a post on Facebook letting people know we needed help, or we would be the next victim of COVID. We laid all our cards on the table and posted a family photo with our new baby basically saying: ‘From our family to yours, we’d love to serve you.’”

“It received an overwhelming response. It got over 16,000 views, and people drove from Wisconsin and everywhere to bring us business. We had our biggest weekend that we’ve ever seen. We made all our sales for the month of July in one week.”

“As the money comes in, it goes right out to vendors.”

“We’ve received so much support from the community and local business owners alike. The marketing guy across the street offered a month of his services for free. A local T-shirt owner offered to help us make T-shirts. I’m working 70 hours per week balancing my own business and taking care of the baby. My husband is working around 90 hours per week, and it’s just crazy because we can’t hire anyone. But, it’s such a blessing to be able to serve our community. They have spoken and told us they want us to stay.”

“We’re thankful that we have this opportunity to basically start over. We were just going to be another number. We let people know that we needed their help, and they responded in an incredible way.”

“We hope the momentum continues, and people continue to eat at Tasty Spin. The personal touch, adding a freebie as a thank-you, and the opportunity to improve to keep customers happy and coming back for more is what keeps small business in business.”

Jessica Hababeh
Co-owner, Tasty Spin
Buffalo Grove, Illinois