[B&H Dairy owners Ola and Fawzy Abdelwahed in 2018]
Here's a post from B&H Dairy on Instagram yesterday that sums up the hardships of running a small food business during the COVID-19 crisis:
Dear B&H Family,
As you know we have been struggling to survive the pandemic as a business. While we are now “open,” we wanted to update you with a reality check as to our situation as of today.
B&H, like many, if not all restaurants, large or small, remains at risk of closing. That is a fact. Anyone who is under the impression that because a restaurant “open,” all is “back to normal,” is not grasping the reality of the pandemic and its consequences.
We went from serving 200 customers a day to only 20 customers a day when we first reopened for pick-up and delivery. We had to cover paying our employees, rent, utilities, and buying food for the restaurant on only 10% of our previous income.
We started an ongoing GoFundMe campaign, to which many of you continue to donate repeatedly, for which we are deeply grateful.
When we were able to reopen, we made changes, accepting credit cards and using food delivery apps for the first time, which increased our customers to about 50 a day, on a good day. Still not back to normal.
We applied for all appropriate relief loans and grants from various city and government agencies, none of which have been granted so far, except for one tiny grant early on, which covered a fraction of one month’s rent, and has since been repaid. To date, though several applications are pending, we have received no further government assistance or relief.
This weekend we adjusted our hours, now closing on Mondays, and cut staff, saying goodbye to Mike. Though he had been with B&H for 14 years, he was one of our most junior employees. Many of our remaining staff are the sole breadwinner for their families.
We are in a fight to survive. We hope that the combination of business, our GoFundMe campaign, and we pray, government relief, will allow us to ride out this storm. This has been a very stressful time for everyone at B&H, so much so, that Ola is now under a doctor’s care.
However, we have faith in B&H! We have been around since 1938, been through numerous owners, staff, closures, and disasters, such as the Spring 2015 2nd Ave. gas explosion, and yet have survived. We thank you, our B&H Family, for your continued love and support.
B&H Dairy is at 127 Second Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place. Phone: (212) 505-8065.
Updated: The crowdfunding campaign for Mike is at this link.