New businesses adapt to launching during a pandemic

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – We know the ongoing pandemic has been an uphill battle for the restaurant industry. Still, many new food joints have actually opened their doors during these unprecedented times.

A problem many restaurants are facing is keeping money flowing during a time we’re told to stay home. For Ruth Ralph, that could be more complicated. She opened up Backroads Bakery in November, right before the pandemic hit.

“No one thought I was any crazier than they already did,” Ralph said.

Ralph says her business is mostly pre-order and pick up– a model that’s been easier to adapt compared to sit-down restaurants. Still, she had to make some changes as her initial plan was to add a dessert and tea shop.

Ralph says during a tough time, there have been silver linings.

“Everything is new to us anyway so we haven’t had to make those hard changes that a lot of businesses have,” Ralph said.

Just out the door and down the road from Backroads Bakery is another business that opened up during the coronavirus pandemic– Freshie’s Ice Cream Shop and Soda Fountain just opened this past November as the weather started to cool off.

Opening an ice cream store during the colder months isn’t the only obstacle for owner Annie Williams.

“A week after we opened the restaurant mandate started,” Williams said.

Now, with no indoor seating, Williams says an emphasis was placed on the drive-through window.

“It’s a much different experience having a milkshake in a foam cup versus a chilled glass,” Williams said.

Whether it’s an ice cream shop, bakery, or sit-down meal, it seems many locally owned businesses have one thing in common. “There’s no corporate, there’s nobody to really show us the ropes, we’re just having to navigate all of this on our own,” Williams said.

If you’re looking to help out restaurants during this time while still staying safe at home, many owners say takeout isn’t the only option. They say you can also buy gift cards.

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