Small businesses work to stay open as winter storms threaten pandemic recovery

Posted at 8:54 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 21:56:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Business owners across Middle Tennessee say they refuse to let snow get in the way as they continue to Rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Nashville continued to see more snow during the week, places like Mas Tacos took a gamble that paid off. Teresa Mason is the owner of the East Nashville restaurant and said the plan was to stay open.

She stood outside in her snow pants taking orders from the customers who drove and those who chose to walk. It wasn’t much different from the way things have operated since they closed their dining rooms at the start of the pandemic.

“We have dug into this system and it’s working for us,” Mason said.

It’s a short lunch rush these days with only a few customers in line at a time, but business has been consistent. It helps when you have something people want and you’re one of few restaurants willing to brave the storm.

“We’ve gotten to know all the neighbors so if we can be open, we try to be open. It feels like a little bit more fun when you have to go through a couple of hurdles to do so,” Mason said.

Just down the road at Greko Greek Street Food, Jason Walker was in the process of clearing his parking lot of snow from the past few days. The point was to show customers not only are they open, but you have a place to park. By now it feels like a new adjustment every week for Walker. The tornadoes of last March closed their doors for 12 days, then came the pandemic.

“It’s been a grind. One thing after another. Tornado, pandemic, snow,” Walker said.

At least with COVID-19, people could still make the trip, keep a safe distance and help support their local economy. In the snow, people can hardly travel and the same goes for delivery. Walker says even with few customers, his goal is the same as it has been all year.

“We’ve always said people first and the business will follow. So for us, my only goal this week is to make sure they get some money to keep a roof over their head and pay their gas bill,” Walker said.

They closed the restaurant for the worst of this week’s storms but opened back up on Wednesday. Between their regulars and the occasional catered event, Walker says they’re managing as best they can. No matter if they close or stay open, bills have to be paid. With all they’ve done to survive this long, Walker says he’s confident they can withstand even the toughest challenge.