It’s been a difficult year for Claudia’s Kitchen, but the power of a single Facebook post has brought a flurry of support for owner Brigid Read and her staff.
The business, located in the basement of the Buchanan County Courthouse, had to deal with the temporary closure of the courthouse for a whole month in 2020 due to stay-at-home orders, which inevitably led to the cutting of staff. And like many other restaurants, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for Claudia’s Kitchen as well.
“We got down to a point where there was no income coming in,” Read said. “By the time it reopened, before everyone started getting their shots, it was to a point where I really should’ve got out long before.”
In mid-March, the concern as to whether the business could overcome its financial struggles sank in. So, Read turned to Facebook on March 17 as a tool to be transparent with her customers, making them aware of the situation and explaining how her business may have to close by the summer.
“That post hit a lot of people,” Read said. “Then I had a perfect storm. Everybody came in all at one time. Things have gotten a lot better and it’s been like that ever since.”
Since that crucial Facebook post, Read has confirmed the hiring of more staff members. The business has adapted to the circumstances by providing curbside pickup options for customers.
Read said that people in the community even dropped by just to offer money to help keep the business running.
“That touched something with all of us because we realized that these people really do care for us and wanted us to stay,” Read said. “A lot of marketing managers came to me, a lot of people who helped me out with grants, Annette Weeks stepped up to help me.”
Read said a future partnership with St. Joseph’s Hy-Vee grocery store to sell Claudia’s Kitchen items is in the pipeline, although concrete details still are being worked out.