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East County businesses continue connecting with clients during COVID-19 crisis

PMG FILE PHOTO - Gresham Biscuits Café owner David Ligatich is giving a coupon for a cinnamon roll with the purchase of a gift card.In midst of dealing with financial difficulties and downsizing because of the pandemic, Gresham Biscuits Café owner David Ligatich discovered something in his mailbox that brightened his day.

A letter arrived on Friday, April 10, in the middle of the social distancing orders that shuttered his restaurant, 1905 N.E. Division St., alongside many other businesses across the region.

It was from an older couple — regulars — who normally visited Biscuits every morning to share a breakfast. While COVID-19 had prevented them from continuing their daily ritual, the customers wanted Ligatich to know they were thinking of him. It was filled with kind words and a check for $100, which is what the couple said they would have spent had they been able to come in.

"When I read the letter I wanted to cry, it made me realize I'm not in this alone," Ligatich said. "I couldn't believe how willing people are to help and check-in on one another."

COURTESY PHOTO: DAVID LIGATICH - A pair of regulars sent a card to Biscuits Café as a sign of support during the pandemic and mandatory shutdowns.COVID-19 hit Biscuits Café hard. Ligatich had to lay off 23 employees between his two locations, and he is permanently shutting down the Vancouver location, which he also helmed. For now, the Gresham restaurant is remaining open, with Ligatich coming up with different promotions and new hours to keep things afloat.

Instead of cashing the check, Ligatich instead made his favorite regulars a meal and brought it to their home. He handed back the check with a heartfelt thanks.

Promoting local

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM CHAMBER - Sunny Hans Wok and Grill donated bags to Gresham meals on Wheels People so they could continue delivering food. A new section has cropped up on the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce website: "Special Deals during Special Times."

The section includes special deals, menu information, new offerings, discounts, takeout and delivery options, contact information, or anything else a business wants to share with the community. The section can be found at: greshamchamber.org/hotdeals/

Many business owners are using the section to promote unique and creative services. Persimmon Country Club is selling grocery packs to keep people from having to visit the store and risk contact; All About Automotive is providing free oil change service with repairs; and Books Around the Corner is giving a free advanced readers copy with every curbside and delivery that includes a new book.

At Gresham Biscuits Café, Ligatich is giving a coupon for a free homemade cinnamon roll with every purchase of a $25 gift card.

On Facebook, the Gresham Chamber has created a new page called Gresham Hires, which is dedicated to posting new regional job opportunities, connecting local businesses with local people seeking work.

And the organization is working with its members to give back to those in need during strange times.

Sunny Han's Wok and Grill, located in downtown Gresham, learned Ambleside Meals on Wheels People was still delivering food to 650 homebound seniors, but the nonprofit organization had run out of bags needed to deliver the food. So Sunny Han's donated to help their delivery effort.

Colin Rath, of Migration Brewing Company, reached out to the Chamber last week because his business had a surplus of food. The Chamber was able to connect him with the best places to donate locally.

"We are all in this together," Ligatich said.


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