At a time like the present with so many in need due to the spread of coronavirus, efforts are being made to help local restaurants through this tough time. With establishments being forced to close their dining rooms and limit their sales to just take out or delivery, those businesses are forced to alter their plans to stay afloat.
Pike County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Catherine Sanders took to Facebook to help make a difference. She created a Facebook Public Group titled Pike County, MS Take-Out and Delivery Options (amid COVID-19) which gives restaurants within the county a platform to help promote their businesses notifying those who follow the page updates.
“Most restaurants have a Facebook page, but the concept of this is just to get everyone in the same place, so that when someone is browsing Facebook looking for somewhere to eat lunch or to get some food for supper as well, they just go to this one group to see what is available and what the options are,” Sanders said.
She added that she is devoted to restaurants who are members of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce by constantly being online to see what they are doing.
But it was then that Sanders got the idea to create the Facebook group after noticing restaurants were posting updates on their individual pages.
“I just decided to get it all in one place,” she said. “I started sharing those restaurants’ postings to this group. Then I started inviting some of my personal friends, and it has kind of taken off from there.”
Sanders recognized the need to help the businesses during these dire times.
“The main purpose is to get people to get takeout and delivery from these restaurants to keep them in business,” she said. “This is a scary time and we are in a little area and so that is the big picture of it. I preach constantly about shopping local but it is more than that, this is eating local.”
For Sanders, the desire to help stretched beyond the chamber’s participating restaurants.
“I’m usually in a mindset that I only support my chamber members, but this is a time of whether a restaurant is a member or not,” she said. “We have to work together to survive. This group is not just for chamber members. It is for any restaurant in the area.”
One of the owners thankful for the help provided by Sanders is Beth Hemeter, owner of Buddy’s Restaurant and Bar in McComb.
“Oh, my gosh, it has helped us greatly,” Hemeter said. “We kind of had to change our mode on doing things to sustain business to keep our employees hired. This medium gives us a way to go directly with the public to share a way that we don’t normally do.”
Another owner who spoke highly of the group is the Caboose’s Lloyd Kinchen.
“I think that it is a very-good program,” he said. “With what little incline that I have had, I think that is the cause of it. It is more people knowing that we are open and we are trying to keep things alive and keep people working and just trying to do our part.”