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Despite challenges, Hail Mary's in Westlake gives back to community while keeping employees on payroll

Posted at 1:36 PM, Apr 01, 2020

WESTLAKE, Ohio — In the same week Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all bars and restaurants to close in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, Hail Mary’s in Westlake was celebrating its two year anniversary.

“That night, that Sunday we found out we had a rush of people,” owner Mary Novak said.

Ever since Novak was forced to close the dining area, she has found creative ways to stay afloat and keep her 18 employees on the payroll.

She created take home pizza kits and switched to delivering food on their own.

“We shut down Doordash, we shut down any outside income and those kids are in here every day, do delivery, working the phones and the community has tipped them generously so we’re feeling really blessed right now,” Novak said.

Now, Hail Mary’s is giving back to the community that’s been there for them by organizing a food drive for Westlake’s food bank.

Novak said anyone who drops off two qualifying items at the restaurant receives a $5 gift certificate.

“Like a lot of other small businesses impacted by this whole COVID-19 situation, for her to be thinking of others, it’s great,” said Lydia Gadd, director of the Westlake Senior and Community Services Department.

Gadd said demand at the food bank is up 25% and others in the community are stepping up.

“It’s great and I think it’s indicative of the spirit of our community. About half the calls we get are from people seeking assistance while the other half is asking how they can be of assistance.”

When business resumes back to normal operations, Novak hopes they will be better than when they started.

“We learned some lessons and the whole community will come back together and support each other,” said Novak.

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