Locals of Maltby, Washington, in the United States have banded together in hopes of saving a beloved cafe that has been standing for three decades.
The past couple of months have been hard for Tana Baumler, owner of the Maltby Cafe for the past 33 years, as per KIRO 7 News on Dec. 3. Like many small businesses, the cafe has been pushed to survival mode because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the last two months I’ve just been sick knowing we were close to closing down,” Baumler said in the report. “We’re exhausted. We’ve worked and it’s not enough. And I’m an old Montana girl. You work hard, you make it, and that’s the American dream.”
Baumler runs the cafe with the help of 45 employees whom she considers her own family. As per the report, Baumler currently owes $10,000 (around P481,000) in health insurance premiums for the month. Rent was also due.
“It was eating me up alive,” she said. “I was just down on my knees asking, ‘Just give me a miracle.’”
But she wasn’t going to give up without a fight. To raise some money, she decided to put up the Miracle on Maltby Street, an outdoor dining experience, for her loyal customers. Little did she know, however, that her customers would be giving her so much more.
Patrons of Maltby Cafe took it upon themselves to help Baumler sustain her establishment. One gave Baumler a dining tent, while another, Jim Barger, put up a fundraiser on GoFundMe.
“Small [family-run] businesses have suffered greatly in these past months and The Maltby Café is one of those small family businesses that is struggling to stay open,” wrote Barger on GoFundMe.
“The owners did not want to ask for financial assistance from their customer base, however, they need your help! Any amount of support to help cover the devastating [effects] of our environment would go [a long] way to helping keep staff, provide insurance for their employees and continue to operate,” he added.
For Baumler’s customers, it seems this show of force was their way to repay Baumler for her own generosity. Baumler herself raises funds for children’s homes and schools in India, as per the report. She also volunteered to prepare meals for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The fundraiser has since received over $117,000 (approx. P5.6 million) in donations as of this time of writing, almost halfway from its goal of $250,000 (around P12 million).
“I got off the phone and bawled because I knew we can make it,” she said. “There’s a chance we can do this!”
Thanks to her supporters, Baumler was able to settle her rent and her employees’ health care insurance in a day.
“I’m humbled beyond humble,” she said. “I can’t believe this is happening. I’m so excited because you know what? No one’s going to be out of health insurance for December, January or February maybe. It truly is a miracle and I just can’t even tell you how that feels.” NVG