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Small businesses struggle despite assistance

Posted at 9:36 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 23:36:57-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - About 25 percent of hospitality businesses admit they may not survive the pandemic, according to a survey by Visit Salt Lake.

“Cafe For U” isn’t just a business for Brandi Alhamdani, it’s a passion project.

“We were proud of it. We worked really hard on it,” she said.

The University of Utah student and mother quit her full-time job and opened the cafe on campus. That was Jan 2.

"I had a staff of 5 and it was going fabulous. Really super popular, we were getting a lot of word of mouth,” said Brandi.

Two months later, while making plans for a second location, campus closed and so did her cafe.

“I gave up everything for this venture. I quit a really good job thinking it was going to go great, which it was and who knew?”

In March, coronavirus closed the doors on hundreds of Salt Lake City’s restaurants and bars, sending some 15,000 servers out of work last month.

“Modern Family” actor and Salt Lake businessman Ty Burrell continues to gather money through the “Tip The Server” campaign he launched with Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

To date, nearly $200,000 have been raised, with a $50,000 match pledge from the Eccles Foundation. He spoke about it Wednesday on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

"We are trying to raise a stopgap to get them from here to the stimulus package and unemployment and things like that to prevent a housing situation,” said Burrell.

Because her business just started, Brandi doesn’t qualify for much help. She’s thankful for what’s out there for out-of-work employees. She’s also coming to terms her dream cafe may never reopen.

"I just don’t know if it is feasible if I am going to pull it off again. Like I said, we invested everything that we had into it. So I don’t know,” Brandi said.