Froehlich's Kitchen being kept open thanks to passionate employees
THREE OAKS, Mich. -- Small businesses are among those struggling the most during the coronavirus pandemic – since local customers are what keeps them going.
After Michigan’s initial stay-at-home order was issued, Froehlich’s Kitchen & Pantry owner Colleen Froehlich didn’t know how she would be able to keep her Three Oaks business open – but when she told employees this could be the end for the restaurant, they refused to let that happen.
Froehlich’s now has shortened hours three days a week for curbside pick up and delivery, but employees are volunteering to work – the only profits they're making come from customer tips.
Colleen says she never asked her employees to keep working and was shocked when they said they still wanted to. She says this – along with creditors being understanding toward small businesses – has kept the restaurant afloat.
“When this all started I was like ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do… do we just close?’” said Froehlich.” And I had employees that were like 'Colleen, we’ll come in, I want to be here, I love what you’re doing, I love what I do.' And that just meant the world to me.”
Colleen says despite orders, they’re still in the red zone financially – but the main reason she’s staying open is for her community.
“Right now it’s not about making money, we’re not making any money. We’re bringing money in but it’s certainly not positive amounts. The overhead is so far above and beyond what we’re doing right now,” said Froehlich. Thank goodness everybody’s obviously understanding - I’ve spent endless hours on the phone with banks and creditors pleading for mercy. I was just so touched that my employees were like, ‘No, what do you need? We want to come in, we want to work.’”
Froehlich’s is also putting together meal kits and cooking tutorials. All you have to do is go to shopfroehlichs.com and click the ‘Froehlich’s Live!’ bottom at the top right of your screen.