BERNARDSTON — With the catering trade severely impacted by the lasting COVID-19 pandemic, Patrick and Cindy O’Hearn are amongst many small enterprise homeowners nationwide who’ve realized to reinvent themselves.
The husband and spouse enterprise companions not too long ago opened Curbside Consolation, a brand new takeout meals mannequin born out of Hillside Natural Catering. It’s situated subsequent to Hillside Pizza’s Bernardston location at 77 Church St., with an ordering and pick-up window that connects to the catering kitchen.
The O’Hearns purchased Hillside Natural Catering from Hillside Pizza homeowners Craig and Amy White in February 2018, and lease house from the Whites to deal with the catering kitchen. Since then, the O’Hearns have gotten two marriage ceremony seasons underneath their belt and had been gearing up for a 3rd. Cindy O’Hearn stated the corporate was set to cater roughly 40 occasions, principally weddings, in 2020 earlier than the COVID-19 outbreak arrived.
“This previous season seemed to be the perfect but,” Patrick O’Hearn stated. “Then COVID hit and introduced every little thing proper to a standstill.”
Regular years may embrace serving three meals in a day for Yankee Candle conferences of 750 individuals, and catering Smith School workers appreciation occasions with greater than 1,000 individuals. However not this 12 months. Because the pandemic started, the O’Hearns have been in a position to serve three worker appreciation occasions.
With Hillside Natural Catering left severely impacted by the pandemic, the O’Hearns went again to the drafting board. Whereas most of their scheduled weddings and different occasions have been postponed to 2021, they hope enterprise from Curbside Consolation and its takeout meals mannequin will assist pay overhead payments and carry them via winter.
“We needed to rethink issues,” Cindy O’Hearn defined. “When this summer time got here and we had been making an attempt to determine issues out, it turned apparent we wouldn’t actually do any catering. So we brainstormed and thought, ‘Individuals want consolation,’ so we’re gonna make consolation meals and maintain doing what we love to do.”
The O’Hearns started serving to-go consolation meals over the summer time with their meals truck, and acquired a superb quantity of enterprise. Whereas the Hillside Pizza location at Yankee Candle was closed, the O’Hearns labored there with their catering truck, serving clients underneath a tent outside.
“Through the summer time it wasn’t too dangerous,” Patrick O’Hearn stated. However they discovered their meals truck mannequin wasn’t going to be steady via the chilly winter months, main them to return to the bodily house in Bernardston.
Among the gadgets on Curbside Consolation’s present menu are from the catering menu, whereas others had been added to suit the “consolation” model. Based mostly on buyer suggestions to this point, Cindy O’Hearn stated the pulled pork macaroni and cheese is an early favourite.
Nonetheless, Hillside Natural Catering’s slower enterprise has additionally meant the O’Hearns haven’t been in a position to rent their normal 20 part-time staff, who depend on the revenue. In addition they usually present leftover meals from weddings and occasions to the Salvation Military in Greenfield, and can’t accomplish that presently.
“It impacts extra than simply Cindy and I,” Patrick O’Hearn stated.
The O’Hearns stated they had been fortunate to safe a Paycheck Safety Program (PPP) small enterprise mortgage, in addition to grants to assist pay again enterprise loans, however nonetheless expressed concern about sustaining overhead.
Till enterprise for Hillside Natural Catering returns to nthen, the O’Hearns are grateful for his or her Franklin County neighbors and clients who’re ordering do-it-yourself consolation meals for takeout every weekend.
Curbside Consolation is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to six p.m. Patrons can go to Curbside Comfort by Hillside Organic Catering on Fb, and name 413-522-7762 to put an order for macaroni and cheese, chili, slider sandwiches, apple tart desserts and extra. Reward certificates of any worth are additionally accessible for buy.
Zack DeLuca might be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-930-4579.