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OPEN 4 BIZ: Family-owned businesses working hard to keep doors open

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YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Tables are empty and some of those who once relied on the restaurant industry to put food on the table are at home filing for unemployment benefits.

This is the narrative of many in the Desert Southwest after all restaurants had to close dining rooms to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

It's now all about take-out and delivery for restaurant-goers.

"It’s affecting us quite a bit. We have a lot of loyal customers who come for take-out and for delivery, but still, you can't compare with the day to day expenses and things we have to pay for," explained Denise Duron, owner of Duron's El Zarape Grill.

It's a time of uncertainty for the restaurants.

“It’s scary. I don’t know how long this is going to last," explained Pauline Gutierrez-Villa, owner of El Charro Cafe.

To-go and delivery orders are keeping family-owned restaurants like Duron's El Zarape Grill and El Charro Cafe open in Yuma County.

For the Duron family who has been feeding the community since 1987, it's all about the community they call home. They began offering specials to assist those who may also be struggling to make ends meet.

“That’s what we’re here for. We want to do what we can to help," said Daniel Duron.

Gutierrez-Villa and her sister who took over the operations of El Charro Cafe opened by her grandparents in 1949 are doing the same.

“[We're] trying to lower the cost for families we know might be struggling,” said Gutierrez-Villa.

The uncertain times come at a price for the two family businesses.

"The first couple of days, I’d say we’re down about 75 percent. We have about 25 to 30 percent business right now," explained Denise Duron.

El Charro explained their business is also down. Gutierrez-Villa said just this weekend they saw a fifty percent decline in business.

This tough time has led to layoffs for both.

“We, unfortunately, had to lay off staff," said Gutierrez-Villa. “It’s very hard dealing with this. I’m in daily contact with most of them to see how they’re doing.”

But both businesses are working with what they have.

“We have roughly 13 to 14 employees that also have mouths to feed. So we can’t stop," said Daniel Duron.

All while keeping the community fed.

“I’m doing deliveries myself. I have some of our servers bringing them in on extra shifts, just to give them some extra time and just to give as many hours as we can," said Daniel Duron.

Both family-owned businesses are grateful for the community's response to the local shutdowns.

“Our community has been really supportive of us. I hope everyone continues to shop and eat local," said Gutierrez-Villa.

If you’d like more information on which local businesses are open, you can find them here.

Coronavirus / Local News / Yuma County

Ciara Encinas

Ciara Encinas is an Emmy award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the KYMA in May 2018.


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