Local business owners share how the pandemic has impacted their establishments

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 11:06 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Two years ago today, the first positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Mississippi.

The days and weeks following that, everything changed, including the way businesses were forced to operate.

“We went from having tremendous business in January and February of 2020, to nothing but shuttered doors and turned off lights,” said Jeff Good, co-owner of Sal and Mookie’s, Bravo Italian Restaurant & Bar, and Broad Street Baking Company.

From the moment the pandemic began, restaurants were hit hard.

Over the past two years, business owners had to suspend dine-in service and switch to only serving customers through takeout, delivery, or curbside orders.

They also had limits on the number of people they could have inside at one time.

“Two years ago, we thought it was all over with,” Good expressed.

But fast forward two years later, Good said his businesses and workers have overcome this pandemic.

In fact, he said they’re seeing some of the best sales in nearly three decades.

He credits much of it due to his employees.

“At every single step of the way, our people (employees) told us what they were comfortable doing, and we matched our business to what our people were comfortable doing,” said Good. “We never got ahead of the comfort level of our staff. As a result, everyone was safe, everyone was happy, everyone made money, everyone was able to do what they love to do, which is serve other people.”

However, for Mitchell Moore, owner of Campbell’s Bakery in the Fondren, the pandemic continues to be a nightmare.

“COVID has wrecked us financially,” said Moore. “It’s not been something that we’ve been able to get out of without some type of outside help that has not yet materialized.”

During this pandemic, Moore said he was forced to close two of his locations and now has a mountain of debt to repay.

“The rent doesn’t stop during COVID. The electric bill doesn’t stop, the gas bill, the phone bill, none of those things stopped because of COVID,” Moore explained, “When we re-opened, we tried to find a way to repay that, but that’s not yet happened.”

Moore estimates it’ll take him a few years to pay off the debt.

The good news is he is back seeing a steady flow of customers every day.

The Jackson business owner said his customers are a big reason he’s been able to keep his doors open over the past two years.

“That’s the only reason we’re still here is because people love what this place does,” said Moore. “Knowing that we have the support of our community, and our customers, and our neighbors, I can’t put words to it.”

Both Moore and Good said they are continuing to deal with worker shortages at their establishments and are currently hiring.

This Monday will mark two years since the governor declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19.

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