Stayton’s Covered Bridge Cafe, Newberg’s Et Fille Winery and West Linn’s Ale and Cider House have all received a financial boost.
STAYTON, Oregon – In the historic neighborhood of Stayton, just east of Salem, is the Covered Bridge Cafe. The restaurant opened in 2006 and is a local hotspot for breakfast and lunch.
“We’re breakfast. We’re only open for breakfast, but breakfast is our thing. We can make the best bacon, fluffy omelets, nice crispy hash browns,” a said owner Cari Sessums.
Like many small businesses, Sessums said the restaurant has struggled over the past two years due to the pandemic, but it’s the community that has helped them stay afloat.
“Our community is everything. We shouldn’t be here. COVID should have destroyed it,” Sessums said.
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When COVID and the pandemic hit, the cafe closed its dining room and laid off its employees, leaving Sessums and her little family to take care of everything.
Despite the closed doors of the dining room, its regulars did not stay away. Instead they came like it was any other day and ordered food and drank coffee. Its regulars even brought a heater to drink coffee outside on their sidewalk tables.
“We never gave up and our community never gave up on us. I think it was that ability to not give up,” Sessums said.
The local community is what she has always given back to. A year after it opened in 2006, it began feeding people in the community the night before Thanksgiving. What started as a small group, grew into the hundreds and last year she fed more than 1,700 people.
Now she is giving back once again.
American Express, in partnership with Main Street America, provided the Covered Bridge Cafe with a $5,000 grant. Sessums said the money will be spent on the community, its employees and will also go to his restaurant’s rainy day fund.
“It’s a relief. I mean, it’s going to be okay and now I can show my community, ‘Hey, thanks for putting us together.’ Take care of my employees who have been relentless with me every step of the way. It’s just that little sense of security.” Sessums said.
Two other Oregon small businesses also received the grant. The Ale & Cider House in West Linn and Et Fille Wines in Newberg received $5,000 each.
To learn more about the Main Street program or to apply, visit their website.
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