CHRISTIANSBURG — A waitress at Loretta’s Country Kitchen is gathering community support for her employer. Abigail Leilani created a GoFundMe campaign online for the Christiansburg restaurant on January 13, claiming the family owned and operated business is sinking.
“The past three years have been very hard for Loretta’s Country Kitchen,” reads the online fundraising description.
Leslie Woods acquired ownership of Loretta’s in 2018 and describes an up-hill battle since then. There is an admitted issue with the business’s sales tax filings.
Woods does not qualify for any COVID-19 assistance funding through the government. “We applied, but the loan and grants require you to be current on your taxes,” Woods said.
Faced with Covid-related mandates, the restaurant closed the dining room from mid-March through Memorial Day of 2020. Leilani stated the business has not fully recovered from the loss of income.
“My husband’s business gave me $30,000 just so I could keep the doors open,” said Woods.
Loretta’s remained steady throughout the summer, but business was slower than normal due to the pandemic. The loss of income and repayment of sales tax to the state caused Woods to fall behind in saving for the slower winter season.
On January 12, 2021, the dining room was shut down by the Ohio Department of Taxation, forcing Loretta’s staff to be laid off for the second time in one year.
The normal staff of 15 employees is down to 5 or 6 volunteers, according to Woods.
Leilani and other staff are volunteering their time, working solely for tips in order to help the restaurant stay open. “If we want to keep this job that we love so much, we’re gonna need some help,” she said.
In 6 days, the community has donated $3,000 to the fundraising campaign.
“It’s incredible that people love this place and are willing to donate their time and money,” said Woods, adding she appreciates the efforts of her staff and the community. “The best way to help us out is to order carry-out,” she said.
Woods said she will have a projected reopening date for the dining room once the “books are up to date.”
A shortened link to gofundme is https://bit.ly/2LLLMop
Reach Andrew Grimm at [email protected]