How small-town businesses are bouncing back from COVID

Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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JEFFERSONVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - It’ll be a while before businesses across our region fully recover from the pandemic, especially those in smaller towns.

The pandemic brought on some big changes for small town Vermont eateries such as Omakase and Pizza On Main.

Before the pandemic, Omakase made money by hosting a few pop-up dinners inside local restaurants in Montgomery in the winter and attending live music events in the summer.

Employee Tate Johnson says with all events canceled in 2020, they made no money. ”When you go from doing 15 to 25 a summer to going to a dead stop still will put anybody at a loss and make them completely restructure their thoughts on their business and how to keep that business afloat when there’s not any way to have a hustle,” Johnson said.

To make up for the losses, Johnson says this summer Omakase is doing more events than they’ve ever done in the past. They’re also putting on more pop-up dinners than before.

Pizza On Main is also adjusting. Owner Michael Jansen says prior to the pandemic, they only had a restaurant in Morrisville and just recently purchased a food truck. “The storefront— well basically, we were so limited to what we could do in that point in time and just like everyone else in the industry, we made adjustments,” Jansen said. “With everything that’s going on in the past, people have to adapt and be flexible. They have to make changes. You can’t stand still.”

It’s only been a week since they’ve been on wheels but Jansen says they’re hoping it will help them reach a broader customer base. “People can order online,” he said. “They can call into here and order so we’re trying to make it as much accessible to people as possible.”

The food truck owners say they have a partnership with Smugglers Notch Distillery to let them park outside and serve food.

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