CHESHIRE — It’s been a difficult year for local businesses, especially for those that opened at the start of the pandemic.
That was the case for The Blender Bar, located in the Maplecroft Plaza, when it began serving customers last April.
For owners Lindsey Ryan and Jana Knight, running a health food restaurant during this time has not been easy, yet the business has been able to remain open. Now, they are getting a bit of help.
Recently, The Blender Bar received $5,000 from the popular food delivery service DoorDash, an infusion that will help the business stay afloat.
“Because we opened our store in April of 2020, we haven’t really been able to qualify for a lot of the grants and COVID-19 relief programs,” Ryan said. “Most grants want you to show that you’ve had a substantial income loss due to the pandemic, and we just didn’t have those numbers because we literally just opened.”
With limited options for government assistance, Ryan and Knight began searching for other avenues. That’s when DoorDash answered the call.
The grant, which according to Knight drew over 760 applications, is a part of DoorDash’s COVID-19 relief program, an offshoot of the company’s “Main Street Strong Pledge” program — a five-year, $200 million initiative to invest in local businesses. The pandemic relief program was created to help local restaurants stay in business.
The Blender Bar serves blended beverages, juices, salads, and sandwiches made fresh on premises. Over the past year, the store has attracted a following.
“We have received so much support from the community since we’ve been here,” said Ryan. “Since I am from Waterbury and Jana is from Prospect, we’ve also gotten an overwhelming amount of support from the surrounding towns as well.”
The $5,000 check was delivered at the end of last month.
“This check will be able to help us with so many things,” Knight said. “We definitely hit a bit of a rough patch over the winter, but we can get back on our feet now with this help.”
Knight and Ryan explained that the funds will go towards payroll and store improvements.
“Hopefully, now that people are becoming vaccinated, we can get more customers in and maybe even have some people sit outside,” Knight said. “Now we are going to be even more prepared than ever for the upcoming season.”