ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester community staple is struggling to keep its doors open after being hit hard by the pandemic.
The Genesee Bakery and Deli has been open for three decades, but they have faced many uphill battles lately. Including, losing roughly $80,000 during the pandemic last year.
“We know that we’re not the only ones going through this, there are other small businesses that we have seen disappear and we are just trying to avoid being one of the casualties, one of the statistics,” said Dave Fiorito, the Owner of Genesee Bakery and Deli.
Along with losing thousands of dollars, the business has lost roughly have of it’s customers to on-going construction outside. But, Fiorito says giving up, isn’t an option.
“I haven’t even thought about it. I don’t even, I don’t even want to try to process that thought,” Fiorito said.
Fiorito has applied for COVID-19 relief funds from the state, specially the SBA’S COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). However, he says it’s been more than 9 weeks since he applied and he hasn’t received the loan.
“They can’t give you a timeline because they are just so overwhelmed across the country. So the system is just running extremely slow. We are not sure if we can hold on that long,” Fiorito said.
While waiting for the loan, Fiorito has turned to the community for help. His son made the business a GoFundMe link for people to donate at. Others, have dropped in to see how the bakery is doing.
“We have had customers come in, giving us cards with notes and well wishes that they have put money in, that they didn’t want to do anything with GoFundMe, we’ve had people just come in and leave an envelope with cash, turn around and walk out, but they are all people we have known and seen them for the three decades that we’ve been here,” Fiorito said.
Fiorito says all the well wishes and phone calls has kept the business going. He hopes the community’s financial support will help him keep his doors open for the time being.
“It’s amazing how many people that you don’t think know that you are there, have shown up and it’s been overwhelming,” Fiorito said. “It’s nice to know that you are apart of peoples’ lives and that they enjoy being here and don’t want to see you go away.”
The bakery currently only has one employee working due to a decrease in customers. The business is hoping to raise $10,000.
“That’s going to carry us through until we go through the construction, get our people back in, get back up to normal speed. We would love to be 100% come fall, holiday time, get back to normal.”
To donate to the Genesee Bakery and Deli, click here.