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Voices From The Crisis: La Vida uses gift cards to help laid-off employees

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This is the first in a series of short features on how Delaware small businesses are responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Josh Grapski

For all the talk about the future of Delaware restaurants, many owners are focused right now on the health and well-being of the workers they’ve either had to lay off or are still on the job handling takeout and delivery orders.

Count Josh Grapski, one of three managing partners for Rehoboth Beach-based La Vida Hospitality, in that group.

“Our No. 1 focus is our family, finances are second,” said Grapski, whose group operates Fork and Flask at Nage and Big Chill Cantina in Rehoboth Beach; Big Chill Beach Club in Bethany Beach; Crooked Hammock Brewery in Lewes and Middletown; two Grandpa Mac locations in Rehoboth Beach; and the Taco Reho food truck.

In addition to helping their unemployed workers find work in areas like manufacturing, construction, and farming, La Vida is also selling gift cards where 100% of the proceeds go to supporting La Vida family members and is offering a daily “family” meal once a day where the laid off workers and their immediate families can pick up a hot meal from the restaurants that are doing takeout (the two Crooked Hammocks, Fork and Flask, and Taco Reho), Grapski said.

“With the gift cards, you can invest in a meal in the future – and you’ll get a 10% discount when you redeem it – and 100% of the sales will go toward supplies and financial relief” for our team, he said, adding that they did $12,000 in sales the first day.

The gift cards can only be purchased online at https://www.lavidahospitality.com/store.

“We’re definitely putting people first,” Grapski said. “We’re balancing staying open with watching the health of our workers,” he said. “We have 40 people who are working on partial salary at 24 hours per week. In terms of the financial side, this is going to set us back, potentially for years, but we’re talking to the governor. We have to find relief. In the meantime, we’re rallying around our team.”

–Peter Osborne

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