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By Bill Murray | March 31, 2020 at 3:54 PM EDT - Updated March 31 at 7:10 PM
SOUTHPORT, N.C. (WECT)
Dozens upon dozens of area restaurants have been struggling with a new business model these last few weeks: take out or delivery only. But Gourmet to Go and Catering in Southport, NC, has run its business on that plan for years.
“We did a demographic study and found this is an area rich with seniors who don’t want to cook,” said owner Carolyn Gherardi. “I retired and now I’m working 90 hours a week, people are just so grateful.”
Gourmet to Go and Catering is a tiny place, roughly 14 feet by 28 feet. An entrance with a few freezers and cash register greet you walking in the door. Behind the two chalkboard swinging doors, which announce today’s specials, is a kitchen where a crew of three, help pump out more than 100 meals a day.
“The menu changes every day, so our menu is blasted out to our customers on Facebook and they start calling immediately, as soon as it goes out,” said Chef Thomas Scirrotto. “We like to know the deliveries first before prepping walk up meals. It gives me about hours notice."
If you blink twice you may miss the pint-sized building located at 105 West George Street.
The coronavirus scare has tweaked the business model. It used to be catering and walk up, but now 75% of the business is delivery.
For restaurants struggling, to stay open up and down the southeastern North Carolina coast, Gherardi says believe in your customers. If they believe in you, they’ll be back.
“You’ve got to be flexible, you’ve got to figure out how you can reinvent yourself," said Gherardi. “People here, locally, want to support local businesses, you have to figure out what they need and meet that need.”
Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.
The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce announces the winners of the Winter 2019 Golden Pineapple Awards.
The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce awarded 24 local businesses a Golden Pineapple Award at a ceremony held at the Chamber. Winter 2019 Golden Pineapple Award Winners are: Food & Drink: Moore Street Market, Mr. P's Bistro, Southport Cheese Shoppe, Uncorked by the Sea Wine Shop & Gallery and Gourmet to Go & Catered Affairs; Service: Abra Autobody & Glass (Caliber Collision), Coastal Painting & Improvements, Cooper Electric, East Coast Moving LLC, The Jennifer Cooper, Redbox Plus of Cape Fear: Roll-off toilet, waste container combo, and Salesperson Carol Kirkman Magnani at The State Port Pilot; Shopping: Boo & Roo's, Franklin Square Gallery, Lantana's Gallery & Fine Gifts, Post Fabrics And Interiors and Strings and Beyond - Southport, NC; Activities & Attractions: Inklanation Custom Tattoos, The Adventure Kayak Company and Yeah Right Charters www.yeahrightcharters.com ; Accommodations: Ocean Crest Motel; Professional: Karen Altizer Collins, Collins Insurance Agency, Agents Brina Falby Neeley and Beth Beane at Laurie Insurance Group, and River Road Animal Hospital
Golden Pineapple Awards are given quarterly to those businesses nominated by their customers for providing consistent and exceptional customer service.
“Consistent and exceptional customer service is the foundation of a thriving small business. We chose to incorporate the pineapple into this award because it is the international symbol of hospitality” said Karen Sphar, Executive Vice President of the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce.
Just a few comments from the nomination forms: “Gone above and beyond”, “efficient, polite and very professional”, “work around your schedule and what you want”, “friendly & welcoming”, “make sure we have everything we need”, and “they love their customers and always wanting to make sure they are happy”.
The next Golden Pineapple, Small Business of the Year and Non-Profit of the Year nominations will be taken until April 30th. If you would like to nominate a Chamber member business who has provided you with exceptional customer service or you feel deserves recognition for Small Business of the Year visit the Chamber’s website at www.ChamberSmallBusinessAwards.com
Tuesday - Friday: 11:30 am - 6 pm
Phone orders can be taken during and before/after hours
Saturday: Catering, Special Orders & Special Events
Sunday: Catering, Special Orders & Special Events