Pacha will be re-opening on August 1, 2020!
What? I thought Pacha was still open and doing take-out/delivery! Well, we have been, but a number of factors have led us to a decision to temporarily close down for 6 weeks—a summer vacation for our staff, if you will. Beginning on Monday, June 15, 2020 we will take a pause from providing organic comfort food to our fans and friends. The word is ‘re-’. We will re-group, re-vise, and generally re-stock our stores, both human and otherwise. We will re-open, re-freshed and re-invigorated, on Saturday August 1, 2020. We RE-ALLY hope to re-open with customers able to dine in our freshly painted little Pacha house—but no promises. Can you help us?
Our reasons for this break are at least threefold. A need to maintain staff health (both mental and physical), challenges sourcing our premium organic ingredients (including, critically, flour, butter and milk), and critically looming financial realities, now that our PPP monies are almost used up, have all led us to this decision.
Our staff has valiantly dealt with the multiple challenges this pandemic posed for nearly 3 months. We scrambled to reconfigure ourselves for take-out and delivery, added an online ordering site, combed retail stores multiple times in a day for basic ingredients, worked with our many local partners to source what we could, and cleaned and disinfected like crazy. We did our best with limited resources, uncertain of forthcoming government aid, since we were considered one of the essential services that our neighbors needed to count on in a time of crisis. This has taken a toll on all of us. The whole crew has worked tirelessly to keep Pacha alive.
Sourcing our organic ingredients has been unusually challenging. Everything from whole milk to the organic berries in our fruit bowls has become an elusive quest from week to week. Our normally reliable Costco early on became hit or miss for some basic ingredients we have counted on them to supply for years, like organic flour, organic sugar, organic maple syrup, and organic butter. HEB limited every customer at one point to a gallon of milk, when we might need 8 gallons for a busy day. It has been an exhausting endeavor just to supply the shop. We are using this opportunity to explore other sources, like a small organic flour mill in North Carolina that freshly mills organic, sprouted whole wheat. That’s actually pretty exciting!
Finally, though we managed to develop a takeout business, the volume has not been adequate to sustain us financially. Not even close. We are currently at about half our normal sales, with increased expenses to boot. We are grateful for the 8 weeks of payroll and rent assistance from the federal government’s PPP, but that money will soon have all been spent for 3 months of running at a loss. Unlike too many others, we tried to follow the apparent spirit of the law, by keeping our staff on the payroll through the program but not shutting our kitchen down, albeit operating under stress and at a financial loss for the sake of the community. The government called us an essential service, and we took that seriously. It’s possible some additional assistance will still be made available for independent restaurants like Pacha (for example the RESTAURANTS act, please call or write your representatives and senators!) but it is not available yet. Until we can open our dining room again safely at full capacity, which is the only way we have ever made ends meet in the past, we need to figure out a way to sustain our business. We simply can’t afford to keep bleeding money. And there can be no ambiguity about the ‘science’, whether it is right or wrong: widespread reopening of businesses in the midst of a rising infection rate in Texas, after crowded protests, widespread circulation of customers and shopping as usual, of an easily communicable disease with no known remedy, represents an immediate threat to the health of our staff. Sometimes the consequences of re-opening can be perverse. While others belatedly try to cash in on the revision of the PPP rules after laying off their employees all this while, and begin to open up dining rooms, we shall make all effort to preserve the future existence of Pacha, and at the same time protect our employees from an obvious danger. Happy times, ya’all: we’ll see you on the front lines, and on the other side.
We welcome your continued support and feedback. Thank you so much for buying our Pacha gift certificates, as so many did in the first couple of weeks of the shut-down! This gave us access to cash to continue paying the bills that couldn’t be paused (like Austin-level rent) while we regrouped. Our staff should still be provided for on furlough, under the unemployment provisions of the CARES Act, through the end of July. But could you help us with our rent while we are shut down? Your generosity could make all the difference for the present and the days ahead together. Any funds received in excess of our rent will go towards supporting our employees and their young families. We very much need community support at this time, so thank you in advance for any you can provide. Here is a link, and here’s to a brighter future!
God willing, come August the Pacha Organic Café will re-open along with Austin’s schools, and be a part of your future well-being.