Public Fish & Oyster owner reflects on business during pandemic
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginie (WVIR) – About a year ago the owner of Public fish and oysters had to lay off all its employees and shut down temporarily. Since then, the company says it has worked hard to pivot and keep its doors open with the help of loans, a supportive community and business model changes.
“It’s my life’s work, and to think that it was in a position where I could lose everything for something that I had no control over was really a horrible feeling,” said owner Daniel Kaufman.
All Public Fish & Oyster employees were laid off at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, and the doors had to close.
“We have lost people who have been here for a very long time and it was a pretty terrible feeling,” Kaufman said.
The owner says he was able to partially reopen his business thanks to PPP loans and a new take-out model.
“Even when we were able to open for a partial dinner, we were doing a fraction of what we used to do,” Kaufman said.
A year later, Kaufman is constantly pivoting the company to make ends meet. He says his restaurant is not out of the woods yet.
“We limped past. We’re all tired of limping, however, that’s where we are right now. I don’t know if we can do it forever, ”he said.
Kaufman hopes his business can get back to normal by the summer, but until then he urges restaurateurs to continue ordering locally.
“I encourage everyone to go to the companies themselves, check the companies’ websites, try to order pickup, try to order their own delivery service. Leave us whatever they can for us because we need it right now, ”Kaufman said.
He also says businesses at the University of Virginia Corner are taking a huge hit from the pandemic: “The restaurants around the corner really need a lot of support,” Kaufman said. “While the students are back right now, until we get to summer, I would encourage everyone to support these restaurants as much as possible.”
Kaufman says it’s been the hardest year of his life, but says he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.