small business

‘Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do': Norwich Business Owner Offers Free Signs to Restaurants

Sign Professionals is handing out free signs to local restaurants to remind customers they are still open for take-out.

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From Norwich to Hebron, you may notice a similar large white sign in restaurant windows reminding customers, "we are open for take-out and delivery."

David McDowell, of Sign Professionals in Norwich, made all of the signs and handed them out to local restaurants for free after the governor announced a COVID-19 fueled restaurant closure. Restaurants in Connecticut are now only permitted to serve take-out and delivery meals.

"My concern was who is going to come into the restaurants?" explained McDowell. "If we could help them let their patrons know that they can still come in it would help."

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McDowell thought making signs for his fellow small business owners might ease some of the financial loss they are experiencing. While the front of the sign focuses on the customer, the back of the sign is for the workers. It reads, "tough times never last, but tough people do."

"It is my favorite saying nowadays," said James Kantzios, co-owner of Asylum St. Pizza. He has a view of the sign as he is making pies. "I was just very humbled to know it was someone thinking not of themselves in such hard times like this."

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Stephan Nousiopoulos, co-owner of Fat Cat Grill and Bar in Norwich, felt the same way when McDowell dropped off the sign.

"For him to think about it and bring it over without being asked. It means a lot," said Nousiopoulos. "We have to stay tough and see it through."

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McDowell said that he knows the sign won't help solve all of the problems the restaurant owners are facing, but he wanted to offer them some inspiration during a difficult time.

The signs are now creating a ripple effect of kindness. After being on the receiving end, the team at Asylum St. Pizza felt urged to give back to the community in some way. On Friday they donated seven pizzas to the healthcare workers at Backus Hospital as they started their first day of drive through COVID-19 testing.

"As long as everyone helps each other out it is a good thing," said Kantzios. "We will get through this."

If any restaurants would like a sign, call Sign Professionals at 860-823-1122.

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