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Kind customers help struggling downtown Willoughby businesses

Posted at 8:44 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 11:51:06-04

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — For downtown Willoughby, a mix of construction and coronavirus have crippled businesses over the last month.

Construction began on February 2 and places like Arabica Coffee House saw an immediate hit.

“About 35-40% of our business instantly was taken away,” owner Tim Snider said.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic, just weeks later.

“Struggle for everyone. We’re just trying to making it to the next day," Snider said.

Down the street at restaurants and bars like The Wild Goose and Sol, it’s the same story.

The struggle continues, and so does the work.

“We’ve gone through and cut back, we’re not ordering much,” Sol bar manager Melissa Kaplar said. “We’ve cut down our food orders, we’re really just kind of scraping by with what we can do.”

The employees are switching shifts and working off of tips only so that they can file for unemployment on a system they say still hasn’t worked for many.

So the kindness of customers is what is getting them by.

“People are very generous,” Kaplar said. “We’ve been just fine so far, we’re definitely seeing lot higher tips than usual.”

Megan Wickline at The Wild Goose echoed those thoughts.

“People are being very kind. Very kind,” Wickline said. “You try and help somebody out in one way, you give them a discount on something so they give you more of a tip, it does work out.”

The restaurants have all been coming up with creative specials as well, to keep their regulars and new customers coming in the doors—past the construction, and through the coronavirus crisis.