We learned this week while checking in on friends that a lot of people have been thinking of us trying to open a business during a pandemic. That means a lot to us! While there certainly is reason for concern regarding small business owners, we wanted to share we’re doing well and next steps on this journey. It hasn’t been easy, but we never stopped moving forward.
When we closed our loan on March 13, we were elated. Finally we could move forward! On March 15, the Governor of Arkansas announced schools would
close through the end of the month, and on March 17 all bars and restaurants closed. UGH!! We made what we hope was a wise decision to push pause on that forward momentum for a couple weeks. Instead of purchasing the bulk of equipment as planned, we worked on projects we’d not been able to get to yet – employee handbook, buildin
g furniture, and pilot brewing beer are a few. Expecting to have to spread people out as much as possible, we also took down very small trees and created an additional area in the beer garden. It’s beautiful and shady during the hottest part of the day. There will be tables and chairs properly placed so people can enjoy the space while maintaining the social distancing rules.
Wendy turned the event room (the first room completed) into a makeshift production
studio to continue teaching exercise classes virtually. It doubles as a workout room where she takes yoga virtually and Dave works out. Even with so much uncertainty about the virus, we knew a strong immunity would be critical to fighting it if infected and exercise is as beneficial for mental health as it is for physical health. We hope you have and continue to prioritize your health during this pandemic shutdown.
While the days ran one into another, one thing we did daily was watch Governor Hutchinson’s COVID-19 briefing. Dave watched the Presidential Task Force briefings most days as well as reading as much as he could about the virus and its effects world wide. As it unfolded, day-by-day, we asked ourselves and each other – What now? How do we best move forward? We know the dream we had of our opening won’t look like that, so what will it look like? It feels a lot like waiting for planted seeds to germinate and start growing; uncertain, yet hopeful, and exciting when you finally see the first shoots appear.
This week both President Trump and Governor Hutchinson rolled out their plans for post COVID-19 shutdowns. We wanted to share our thoughts on what the opening of Gotahold Brewing will likely look.
Our vision is to provide share-worthy beer and memorable experiences, do good for the planet, its people and our community. That hasn’t changed. We still intend to do just that.
First and foremost, though, health is important. If our community has an outbreak of COVID-19, we will go back into shutdown mode. Nobody wants that! We’ve made it this far with only two identified positive cases. We’re hoping to do our part to keep it that way. That said, we weren’t the two positive cases nor have we ever experienced any of the symptoms of infection, so we are cautious for our health, too. No brewer = no beer = no good! Right?
We anticipate being able to open in early June. To manage traffic flow and maintain a safe number of customers, we will be using a reservation system to secure a table, both inside and outside, while our state maneuvers through the second and third phase of reopening. This allows us to make sure those who want to visit the brewery are able to do so while we maintain the mandated requirements for social distancing of patrons. We’re still working out the logistics of this, but it’s possible we’ll need to limit the time of each reservation so we can manage turnover, cleaning and sanitizing seats and tables between guest groups. This is all very different than we’d been planning, but we’re rolling with the punches.
We had planned for our first live music events to be the first weekend in June coinciding with Blues Weekend here in Eureka Springs. Sadly, the first band we have booked is so popular locally, we are going to have to postpone them till we are through phase three of the “Reopening of Arkansas”. It’s a bummer because we love them and really wanted them to kick off our first season. Alas, health first.
Finally, for the time being, probably through phase three, but definitely during phase two, we will not be taking cash payments. It’s an inconvenience for some and we apologize for that.
From the beer to the location and experience, we are confident that even with these added restrictions, you’ll leave knowing exactly why we named our brewery Gotahold. We look forward to serving you in just under two months (fingers crossed). As we get closer, you’ll see more communications with more specific details on what to expect when you visit.
For now, if you aren’t already, follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram @gotaholdbrewing. Thank you for your support, concern, and love. We are excited to be so close to serving you a beer!