What did you originally plan to use the money for?
We are operating profitably and pre-coronavirus, we planned on using the funds for marketing to attract more franchisees to Pure Green. We were also planning on using some of the money raised to open three additional, corporately-owned Pure Green locations in 2020.
How has that changed?
While we are still planning on using the funds for marketing, we believe that after the coronavirus pandemic settles, there will be a high availability of commercial real estate on the market. With that said, we are now planning on opening up six additional, corporately-owned locations this year.
Do you think this is something other brands could benefit from, crowdsourced funding?
A hundred percent. In the midst of COVID-19, small business owners are scrambling to stay afloat. I recently received a call from a fellow business owner who sustained massive losses from the coronavirus and is now struggling to survive. My advice to him consisted of the following:
- 1. Apply for the SBA Disaster Loan
- 2. Apply for your local state's grant for relief (NYC requires two months of losses of 25% less than the previous year, so he will have to wait until the end of April to apply)
- 3. Start an equity crowdfunding campaign immediately
From a restaurateur’s perspective, what has it been like living this coronavirus nightmare each day? What has Pure Green done to stay afloat?
Each day has been a battle in adhering to the New York City mandates. Pure Green is fortunate to be considered an essential business and we are allowed to remain open for takeout and delivery. We are now working closely with our delivery partner platforms to maximize this aspect of business.
And, to ensure the safety of our guests and team, we have gone through great lengths including continuous and rigorous cleaning protocols, social distancing adherence, and removing all seating from our stores. We have had to restructure our staff schedule at every location due to a significant drop in in-store traffic.
What has been the hardest decision you had to make?
The hardest decision we’ve had to make is to stay open. The easy decision would have been to close all stores until the coronavirus subsides. However, whenever we are faced with tough choices, we always keep our mission of “building healthier communities” in mind, and look for the option that is most in alignment. In this case, we felt that keeping our stores open so that we can keep our communities healthy during this time was ultimately the right decision.
What are some policies you implemented, from cleaning to employee programs, in light of the pandemic?
To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we pushed back the ordering position in our stores so that guests interact with the cashier from six feet away. We’ve blocked off a section of our stores where delivery drivers wait for their orders. We’ve limited the number of guests allowed in store at any given time. We’re also encouraging our guests to order from all of our delivery platforms through contactless delivery.