Mexican soul food restaurant Blaxican is permanently closed in Peachtree Corners, according to a post on Instagram, and confirmed by owner Will Turner. The restaurant temporarily closed in late-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and before the statewide shelter-in-place and dining room shutdown began on April 3. The catering business and food truck remain in operation.
Turner tells Eater Atlanta he made the decision to close the restaurant following the governor’s announcement to allow restaurants to reopen for dine-in service at the end of April. The vast majority of Turner’s business at the restaurant, which he says is around 90 percent, comes from the weekday workforce from nearby offices during lunch. According to Turner, most of the corporate businesses in the area remain closed. The costs to continue operating the restaurant, including rehiring staff, didn’t add up.
View this post on Instagram
Que Pasa Y’all, unfortunately we have to permanently close our Peachtree Corners restaurant. The facts are even after loans and fundraisers we don’t have the financial reserves to stay open after being closed for 3 months, and not knowing how long it will be for things to return to normal. We are still able to operate our food truck and will be doing neighborhood events and private caterings. Email email@example.com for more info. Thanks for the memories, love and support.
As of April 27, Georgia restaurants are permitted to reopen for dine-in service and must comply with a set of 39 state-mandated guidelines, including requiring staff to wear faces masks, spacing out seating, and limiting capacity to only ten diners per 500 square feet in dining areas. For many independent restaurant owners, like Turner, complying with these new safety guidelines in order to reopen their establishments for dine-in service may be cost prohibitive.
“The governor’s decision also prompted and attitude shift with my landlord and vendors,” Turner says. “Basically we were ‘all good’ with you not paying rent and your bills, but now that the governor waved his magic wand and things are getting back to normal, they want their money.”
Turner applied for a Payroll Protection Loan (PPP) at the start of the shutdown for the food truck and restaurant. He was working with his bank on the loan, but the amount of money he claims he would have received from the PPP wouldn’t be enough to cover the costs of reopening the restaurant. Turner also applied for a small business economic injury disaster loan in March. He says all he has received for the loan is an application number, but no word on funding.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp requested and received relief on behalf of Georgia’s small businesses in March, asking the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to “provide SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to the State of Georgia.” According to the SBA website, economic injury disaster loans provide small businesses within “declared disaster areas” money to continue operating and to help pay necessary expenses while recovering.
Turner founded Blaxican as a food truck back in 2010. It became a popular mobile restaurant on Atlanta’s food truck circuit. Seven years later, Turner opened a permanent location on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in the Gwinnett County city of Peachtree Corners, 22 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Update, May 8, 1:10 p.m.: This story has been updated with comments from owner Will Turner.
5260 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, #700, Peachtree Corners. www.blaxicanfood.com.
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