WEBSTER SPRINGS, W.Va. – Because of COVID-19 many small restaurants and businesses have had to temporarily close up shop to protect their family and employees.
The Flatwoods Custard Stand took to social media expressing sadness about having to close its door temporarily, due to the pandemic. The post stated that they would not be reopening until it is safe for their staff, customers and family. Franchise owners Alissa and Seth Clayton said it was a difficult decision to make and that their business had dropped off following the health inspector guidelines they closed their dining room doors utilized their walk-up window before the temporary closure.
“Once the governor came out and issued the stay home order, we just lost most of our business. And the business that we did have I was kind of polling the customers because I ended up laying off my employees. So, I was just running the restaurant by myself,” said Alissa Clayton.
Clayton said 80 percent of the people stopping at the restaurant were traveling from out of state and even as far as Canada. She felt as though being a mother with two small children at home, she was putting herself at risk.
“We come out of slow season, our winter season, we come into March and that is when everything starts to pick up and everything is good again for us,” said Clayton.
Without being able to operate, the business was falling behind every day it was closed. Clayton stated that she’s been working to apply for loans and grants with the Small Business Administration. She explained that that some of that has not been easy to understand and which grant versus which loan to apply for.
“I am really lucky that I have an office here and that my mom is in kind of in the same boat with me because we did have to shut down our Summersville location. So, she is kind of doing those some things and making those same motions,” said Clayton. “I have done stuff for my mom here and just stop by [the Webster Springs Custard Stand] when they’re busy and kind of help them for a few minutes because its so sporadic you don’t know how to schedule.”
The Clayton’s explained that they are trying to use this time to prepare themselves to get back into their busy season, which is their summer season. Also, they said March and April are the months that they use to train their newly hired employees, so this is going to make that more difficult when they do open the doors.
“I am very lucky that that my husband can go to his regular job, he works as a federal prison, he can go and still bring an income in. He can still pay our bills but it is very, very difficult because everything that is our restaurant responsibility right now is coming out of our pocket,” said Clayton.
In hopes of opening back up in May, the Clayton’s ask for everyone’s patience when they do bring their staff back and get fully operational again.