Spectrum News | Wilmington, NC – Aaron Hyatt has worked his way up in the P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grille family from manager all the way to owner, but this past year has put his business to the test. The restaurant is one of the most popular in the Cape Fear area, but Hyatt is quick to note that doesn't make them immune to the hardships everyone is facing.
“There was a time when we weren't sure if we were going to be able to get meat, I think we all got scared then that we might have to shut down,” says Hyatt.
That's why Our Town America, a national marketing franchise that specializes in helping small and local businesses gain new customers, created the Small Business Resilience Award.
Presented to just one business in each community, this annual award honors small businesses for overcoming the many triumphs of the previous calendar year. This year, however, holds extra merit due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the many challenges it brought.
P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grille was nominated, then won the popular vote with an overwhelming majority!
Hyatt says the award makes him feel like everything he and his employees have been through has been worth it. "It's an honor from the community that acknowledges the hard work of the past months and makes all those bad days feel worth it,” he says.
“It shows that our hard work and adapting with this new work style hasn't gone unnoticed, so it makes you feel good,” says Hyatt.
Unfortunately, he says they're not out of the woods yet though. Business is still down 15-20% each month and he expects it will take another six months at the minimum to recover. Hyatt says he's fortunate that he's been able to keep all of his employees during the pandemic, but without their regular customers he says they would all be looking for new jobs.
Hyatt hopes that friendly faces, good burgers and proven service can help people take a break from everything going on in the world outside.
Hyatt and local Our Town America owner, Bassam Safi, met with Spectrum News to discuss winning the Wilmington Small Business Resilience Award.
Click here for information on how to be nominated for the Our Town America Small Business Resilience Award.
Our Town America supports small businesses across the nation 365 days per year. If you're a local Wilmington business looking to reach new or current customers, contact Bassam Safi at 910-352-5776. If your business is located outside of the Wilmington area, please contact our corporate office at 1-800-497-8360 to be connected with your local representative.
Brittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations.