Spring 2020 was looking like one of the best seasons ever. Our catering calendar was full with rehearsal dinners, weddings, corporate fundraisers and numerous ladies luncheons. Acres of tulips were blooming at Poston Gardens and thousands of tourists were about to flood into Waxahachie to pick flowers, meet friends for lunch and shop our store for new spring clothing and candles in sweet smelling scents of the season. That all ended on March 18.
We didn’t have a plan for a pandemic. Our business interruption insurance doesn’t cover a worldwide virus outbreak, even though it should. Our kitchen and wait staff couldn’t afford to lose their jobs with car payments and school loans. Several are single moms with rent due, so closing just wasn’t an option. Eight days later a member of our family died after a long battle with Leukemia and we couldn’t even hug each other and have a funeral. The world had changed in a matter of days and we needed a plan.
From the moment we announced we were going to stay open and turn our restaurant into a curbside pick up operation, our phones never stopped ringing. Our customers rallied around us like protective shepherds guarding their flock. We transitioned into selling quarts of soup, family dinners and whole pies. We fed essential workers each day and even had calls from all over the country buying lunch for businesses like Sea Long Medical Supply, who garnered national attention after they began making ventilators in their Waxahachie garage. Our patrons not only ordered food, but tipped as much, or more, than they would’ve if dining inside. Other patrons bought gift certificates for later use and one of our local elementary schools purchased gift cards for all of their teachers. By the grace of God we made enough money each week to make payroll and buy food to do it all over again the following week.
Every day we witnessed the good in people. Customers shared posts to help promote our downtown businesses, while our Chamber of Commerce gals got out every day to make
videos and help us sell items in the store or rally the troops for lunch orders. The City of Waxahachie did everything possible to help us by lending traffic cones to mark off curbside pick up spots and in making sure we had information from national organizations on maneuvering through this unexpected journey. Just when I was at my lowest one day I found a heart shaped note taped to our front door saying: “Your business, employees and family are being prayed for”.
The last eight weeks have certainly been a challenge, but also a blessing. I am heartbroken so many lives have been lost and so many businesses will not recover from a virus the Communist Chinese government could’ve handled better, but I am also heart filled with the love and compassion our community has showed us in these unprecedented times.
In owning the Doves Nest for over 25 years I remember the look of fear and uncertainty on our staff’s faces the morning of September 11, 2001. After the Big Recession in 2008, I remember how long it took to slowly dig ourselves out of debt when no one was spending much money. On a cold winter morning in 2011 I remember waking up in our loft to see a raging fire destroying a block of our historic buildings. I can also recall the slump in sales a few years ago when old water lines in our downtown district had to be replaced and the streets were torn up longer than planned. We have weathered many financial storms over the years and this may well be our biggest hurdle, but the one thing that is always constant is our customers.
This may not be the spring we had planned for, but after witnessing the love and care our community shows when times are hard, I have no doubt we will find ourselves in a new season healthier, stronger and wiser.