Enterprise proprietor Jon Bjorgo isn’t certain that he would nonetheless be slinging his Chicago-style eats from his meals truck, if not for the assistance of a Longmont nonprofit.
Bjorgo owns Jonny’s of Longmont, and in August, he needed to make a troublesome name. With the coronavirus pandemic posing main challenges to his brick-and mortar-restaurant, Bjorgo closed store and opened up two meals vehicles as a substitute.
“(The restaurant) relied closely on foot visitors,” Bjorgo stated. “Proper in the beginning, everybody was staying house. Nobody was popping out. Nobody was taking away meals.”
To maintain his enterprise alive, Bjorgo wanted business kitchen house to organize his meals to well being division requirements. Bjorgo discovered that house and a group of different companies working to outlive the pandemic on the Longmont Elks Lodge Put up 1055.
Bjorgo was certainly one of a number of small enterprise house owners who stated the nonprofit’s kitchen house has provided them much-needed aid throughout a time that has been difficult and unpredictable.
On a current Friday, Bjorgo labored within the kitchen house to organize the day’s menu. Jonny’s of Longmont is understood for its hand-cut potato fries, beefy Chicago-style scorching canines with poppy seed-flecked buns and Italian beef sandwiches, to listing however just a few menu objects.
Karen Borough, membership supervisor and occasion coordinator, stated the Elks Lodge has provided up its kitchen house for the previous 2 1/2 years for native companies to make use of. It wasn’t till the pandemic, although, that they started seeing an elevated curiosity from companies in utilizing the house. Final yr, there solely two companies utilizing the kitchen. Now, there are 5 companies with a sixth slated to start out on the finish of the month.
Borough stated she believes that the Elks’ kitchen has provided a means for “small companies to maintain going throughout this time.”
“It’s given the chance to proceed to do enterprise with out a few of that overhead,” Borough stated.
The 4 stoves, in addition to entry to chilly and dry storage and car parking zone house, are a part of the house supplied.
Bjorgo stated he likes that he can come and go from the kitchen, not like different operations, which he stated usually assign a time that the house can be utilized. Along with providing a more-affordable charge, Bjorgo stated he’s additionally been capable of share experiences with different companies working to outlive.
“It’s form of like a sounding board as properly; we share recipes with one another,” Bjorgo stated. “Now we have pulled collectively and helped one another to succeed.”
Serving to native companies falls according to the Elks Lodge’s mission to serve its local people. The nonprofit additionally works with space hospitals to supply sufferers in want with entry to a medical closet. Yearly, the Elks Lodge additionally offers out three faculty scholarships to native college students.
“Something we will do to assist locally, we’re at all times a telephone name away,” Borough stated.
The membership waived lease for companies house owners for April, Could and June, however has since needed to begin charging them once more to cowl utility prices. Companies who use the house pay lease based mostly on the variety of days that they entry the kitchen. Borough stated lease prices vary from $150 to $450 a month. Companies additionally must turn into an Elks Lodge member and pay dues of $107 per yr.
Amongst these utilizing the Elks’ kitchen is enterprise proprietor Mike Simuns. A cook dinner for roughly 20 years, Simuns makes a speciality of breakfast sandwiches. His enterprise, Biscuits at Mike’s, has been serving Southern-style flaky biscuits, piled with eggs and bacon or fried hen and honey, from his meals truck since June. For the previous two months, he’s been utilizing the Elks’ kitchen to organize his meals.
“I like the concept of getting full open-ended instances,” Simuns stated. “I’m not scheduled to be there at a particular time. Being a brand new truck, I don’t know precisely when all of my companies could find yourself being.”
For fellow meals truck proprietor Daniel Wright it was the Elks’ mission to offer again to the Longmont group that drew him to start out utilizing the nonprofit’s kitchen in March 2019. Wright runs the Massive Hassle meals truck, previously often known as Ohana Eatery. The enterprise is understood for its Asian fare and fast-selling ramen.
“Their focus is on supporting the group, and that’s the course of my enterprise,” Wright stated. “I’m a meals truck that helps native farms, native enterprise and the native economic system.”
The pandemic has been difficult, Wright stated.
“Proper now, I’m barely staying afloat,” he stated.
Wright stated his enterprise would possible nonetheless be working, even with out the Elks Lodge, but it surely’s made life simpler through the pandemic.
“They’ve been super-flexible and at all times checking in to see how I’m doing business-wise,” Wright stated. “They’ve been very understanding and I don’t suppose I’d get that very same remedy in a big business kitchen.”
Bjorgo, although, stated his enterprise would most likely not be open had it not been for the Elks Lodge.
“With all these new COVID rules, it’s getting tougher and tougher to have a meals truck,” Bjorgo stated.
“The locations we might usually go to, like breweries, are all at diminished capability.”
Moreover, with the ample house obtainable within the Elks Lodge’s kitchen, Bjorgo was capable of put together near 1,000 donated meals for firefighters battling fires in Boulder and Larimer counties and evacuees.
“We have been capable of virtually fill the ballroom with premade sandwiches and boxed lunches,” Bjorgo stated.
Bjorgo hopes that someday he can open one other brick-and-mortar restaurant. Till then, he’ll proceed to serve up scorching, recent Chicago-style eats, due to the nonprofit, he stated.
“The Elks have enabled us to climate this COVID storm quite a bit simpler than if we had gone and used every other business kitchen,” Bjorgo stated.