Uncertainty amid COVID continues for local businesses like Dog Bar

“Any plans I had of opening up new locations were completely thrown into turmoil when we got the order to close. And then watching the bank account lose digits – not just numbers but actual digits. And after all of that, there is no guarantee that we will survive this if there is another shutdown. It’s just a lot to deal with right now,” said Travis Bickford, owner of Dog Bar.

I naively walked into this interview planning a fun article featuring puppies and pour-overs. And instead, this was the heart-wrenching update that I received from Dog Bar; a large helping of fresh perspective.

We all might be ready for this whole COVID-19 thing to be over, but it’s not. The struggle is still ongoing, and people who work in restaurants, bars, salons, and many other businesses are still dealing with the ripple effects of this pandemic. So many livelihoods are at stake. Businesses, dreams, and centerpieces of our communities are on the brink of being lost.

However, when talking with some of the staff, I was uplifted by stories of customers who have seen the need and stepped in to help. A local, anonymous donor gave money to each employee at Dog Bar, Sanctuary, and Hattie’s. Bartender Michelle noted that some clients have become more generous with their tips (some even as high as 75 or 100 percent) in an attempt to alleviate the strain of limited seating. Then of course there was also the GoFundMe (gofundme.com/f/x4z33-save-dog-bar-charlotte) that was integral in keeping the bar open this long. And, my friends, these acts of selfless generosity are just what we need to make it through this.

We are all struggling in different ways, but it comes back to seeing what each of us can do to take care of our community. Let’s look out for our local business owners, as they continue to work hard to look out for us. Now is the time to keep our community strong. Do some of your holiday shopping at Pura Vida or Ruby’s Gift. Uncover a hidden treasure at The Rat’s Nest. Visit a restaurant owned by your neighbor. Tip a little extra on your takeout. Because my friends, it takes a village to make it through times like these. Our community needs each one of us. Your community needs you!