Market on Front creates staff relief fund as COVID strikes business
As the coronavirus sweeps through Missoula, many businesses are being forced to temporarily close while their employees quarantine.
This is exactly what happened to a popular spot downtown.
On October 5th, Market on Front received the news that no business can afford to hear right now.
“It was from my head chef who heard from one of the cooks that he had tested positive for COVID. And as soon as that happened we closed down the market, as soon as I got the phone call,” said Dennis Round, Market on Front’s co-owner.
The positive case forced 8 employees into quarantine, and shut down operations for 8 days, and Round said he even had to toss some of their product that they’d no longer be able to use.
“Whether it’s our aioli sauces, our sautéed onions, or our pickled beets or whatever it was, all that stuff had to go out the door,” said Round.
It was a brutal blow to their revenue and not the only impact of an 8-day shutdown.
“More importantly, for the employees, you know, they lose days, paid pay days and also tips are, you know, a big part of it is their income is tips,” said Round.
Times are already tough and money is tight, so Round, along with co-owner and wife Robin, acted fast.
“Knowing that they were going to have some loss income, we decided we’d create our own staff relief fund,” said Round.
For three days, Market on Front advertised different incentives to raise funds that would be distributed among the staff.
When they reopened on Wednesday, for every burrito sold, the Rounds donated a dollar to the fund.
“On Thursday, 100 percent of the coffee sales that we did on Thursday went to that fund, then on Friday, what we did was we matched 100 percent of the tips that were given by customers,” said Round.
And the support didn’t stop there. Through the power of social media, fans of Market on Front from states as far as California, even Tennessee, donated money after seeing that the Market had closed.
“If you go on social media you’ll see the support after support. not just on the tough days, even on the good days. Things like that, it’s just… people are good,” said Round.
Market on Front has spent the last week operating on limited hours, per the Health Department’s directive.