coronavirus in connecticut

‘I Won't Give Up': Struggling Bristol Restaurant Owner Details Pain of Pandemic

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Gina Legnani-Pellrine opened Rodd’s Restaurant in Bristol back in 1988. Outgrowing that space, three years ago and just two doors down, she opened a second place called Rodd’s On The Go, which sells prepared meals. In three decades, she says business has never been this difficult.

“I have zero income. I haven’t had a paycheck in 38 weeks,” said Legnani-Pellrine. “I stopped my paycheck. I stopped contributing to my pension plan."

Legnani-Pellrine says she’s seen up to a 50% decrease in business this year. She says she received a little of the PPP loan and has applied for multiple grants but hasn’t heard back on those.

“My utility bills are $2,500 to $2,700 a month plus my rent. I’m not even barely making that in a month,” said Legnani-Pellrine.

She has nine employees and says staff works together to make sure everyone has hours. She says they’re a big reason why she won’t give up. She says the community has supported the restaurants as much as they can but that financial help is needed.

“My staff is wonderful. They've all been here 20, 25 years. All of them,” said Legnani-Pellrine. “I won't quit. I won't give up. I'll figure out a way. I have assets I'll have to get rid of.”

She says she’s taken every precaution and spent thousands of dollars on barriers and other equipment to make for a safe and clean space for indoor dining. Talk of closing that dining space once again leaves her nervous about the future and making it to the other side.

“It’ll be a long time to recover,” said Legnani-Pellrine. “Fifty percent of a year’s money? How do you recoup that?”

The owner says she’s also applied for the $5,000 small business grant offered by the state. She says she hasn’t heard back yet on that but that it would probably pay her rent for a month.

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