Editor’s note: This article is one in a series on how Xenia’s small businesses have weathered and persevered through 2020.
XENIA — For One Bistro, one of the business’ first challenges for 2020 wasn’t COVID related.
It was about its chef who had shoulder issues. As a direct result, extensive surgery was required and he ended up being off longer than his fellow staff had anticipated. That forced One Bistro, a non-profit which has a pay what you can and pay it forward concept, to close for three weeks.
One Bistro officials took that time to make some improvements including new paint and refinished floors. Then the coronavirus hit.
“COVID-19 extended the closure for One Bistro,” Board President Denise Davis said. “We just simply trusted the Lord to provide and to guide and direct us as we continued to keep our team fully employed.”
As an essential business, One Bistro was able to stay open. But business was not the same.
“We moved from serving inside to offering curbside service only,” Davis said. “We offered heat-and-eat meals during the early days of COVID-19, and the community really enjoyed and leveraged them. These meals helped offset our slow sales while providing healthy and affordable meals for many families when folks were trying to figure out grocery shopping, safe ways to order carryout food, working from home, etc.”
A big part of One Bistro’s concept is that it uses volunteers in all parts of the restaurant. That couldn’t happen at the onset of the pandemic.
“When we were not allowed to have volunteers in the cafe during the early days of COVID-19, the One Bistro team, which includes the board of directors, stepped up and delivered,” Davis said. “Most of us, as a team, we committed early to fight this battle on our knees and to God be the glory. One Bistro is going to be fine.”
As anticipated, coronavirus negatively affected the year’s overall sales figures, which are off by 30 percent. One Bistro officials made good use of government aid.
“We tapped into grant opportunities and received some from various foundations and organizations,” Davis said. “What a blessing that was for the cafe. We also applied for PPP and received some funds which helped us get through March, April, and May. Surprise checks from Gov. DeWine’s Employer Premium Refund from The Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation helped too.
“Donations from individuals and organizations have been a huge gift which helps us continue our mission of providing a place where our neighbors eat and come together as one community.”
That’s part of One Bistro’s mission.
“As a community cafe, we are all about relationships,” Davis said. “Relationships with one another, relationships with our community, and the relationship with our Lord all are important aspects. It was humbling to fight the COVID-19 battle with others by linking arms, supporting one another, praying for each other, reaching out to those in need and always finding ways to give thanks and spread joy. It was fantastic to develop new relationships and so inspiring to feel the love and support from existing relationships,” she said.
Reach Darryl McGee at 937-502-4534