RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – It’s no secret that many small businesses took a hit during the pandemic, but many of them are bouncing back. This week is National Small Business Week, a great chance to help them even more.
To show our support, we’re highlighting local business Philly Vegan.
One of Philly Vegan’s co-owners grew up in Richmond’s southside, and while it’s been tough opening a business during the pandemic, he says it’s been a dream to feed his community.
“It’s been incredible. It’s really incredible to be in the place that I grew up on the southside and be 10 minutes down from there, and now have a building and give back to all the people that I grew up with,” said co-owner of Philly Vegan, Samuel Veney.
Philly Vegan serves plant-based Philly cheesesteaks.
Unlike most restaurants whose doors closed for good over the past two years, Philly Vegan opened during the pandemic in June 2021.
“It’s been challenging. I mean, the pandemic has hit everyone pretty hard,” said Veney.
But through all of the challenges, Veney and his staff have been able to pivot and even give back to the community with a program they created called “pay what you can.”
“We allow our customers to come to our restaurant at least one day a month and pay whatever they can, and if they cant pay anything, their meal is free, no questions asked,” said Veney.
Veney has advice for others thinking of starting their own small business.
“Do it. If you feel it in your heart and it’s something your passionate about, you just got to take the steps,” said Veney.
Tom Kelley, with Village Bank, says you shouldn’t let fear prevent you from going for your dreams.
“It’s the American dream opening up a small business, working for yourself, growing the business to the way you want it, and it’s the satisfaction of having people working for you and providing for other families,” said Kelley.
Kelley specializes in small business loans and helps potential owners by guiding them through the application process.
He says if you’re thinking about opening a small business, you have to come to the table with a plan.
“You can start your own business, you have to do projections of what you’re going to do, or you can acquire an existing business,” said Kelley.
Veney’s recipe for success has always focused on the food and the people.
“We just want to make people feel good when they come into our building,” said Veney.
You have until May 7 before National Small Business Week ends, but you can still support your local businesses anytime throughout the year.
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