SAN JOSE (KPIX) — The statewide stay-at-home order is causing business owners to think outside the box to keep their doors open or, for some, to keep up with demand.
Al Vallorz, the owner of Tony & Alba’s Pizza & Pasta, said sales at his business has been overwhelming. When the county of Santa Clara announced a shelter-in-place, he thought sales would decrease and planned to cut back on his employees’ hours.
He was wrong.
“That might have been a mistake because I didn’t realize it was going to be overwhelming,” Vallorz said.
He and his wife have adapted to the new rules by offering take out, curbside service and continuing deliveries.
And they’ve done much more than that. Vallorz said they’re now offering what he calls a “70-plus” program.
Every night, Vallorz delivers a free pizza and salad to 15 elderly residents in the San Jose area. He says the response has been amazing.
“Crying, they give us money to pay it forward, they take pictures, send us pictures, they’re so happy for it,” Vallorz said.
Now his customers — who know the long-time business owners have always tried to give back to the community — are helping them in their time of need.
“Now we’re supporting them,” said Tony & Alba customer Yvonne Wong.
Not every business is in demand right now. In fact, many more appear to be struggling.
At Holder’s Mission City Grill in Santa Clara, where there used to be a 40-minute wait at lunch, owner Robert Ramirez has cut back his staff by at least 80 percent. That’s not all.
“Business is down, close to 90 percent,” Ramirez said.
He said he’s most concerned about what this means for his employees.
“They have families, you know, my concern is that their families get food in their mouths, they pay their rent, just so they can keep afloat,” he said.
He’s now delivering food and offering specials to remind his customers they’re still open. On Thursday, he threw in a free milkshake for burger orders.
“It’s something that I don’t mind doing and it’s something that — if I could put a smile on a customer’s face — it’s worth it to me,” said Ramirez.
Both business owners are learning to adapt to feed their customers so they can keep their employees fed as well.
”When people come here it just kind of reassures me that they’re not giving up on us,” Ramirez said.