Another longtime Winnipeg restaurant has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Downtown staple Nathan Detroit’s Sandwich Pad will be closing for good later this month after more than four decades in business.
The eatery, located in the underground beneath the Fairmont Hotel and the Richardson building, said much of its business comes from downtown workers — a group that hasn’t fully rebounded since the pandemic began.
Brenlea Yamron, who runs Nathan Detroit’s with her sister Karen after taking over from their late father 20 years ago, told 680 CJOB’s The Start that the outpouring of support from the public is making the tough decision a little easier.
“It’s hard, but we are so enjoying all that Nathan’s has given our family,” Yamron said.
“We’re so incredibly overwhelmed by the people out there. We are lovers of Winnipeg, we are promoters of Winnipeg — we’ve all raised our families in Winnipeg.
“Winnipeg … man, are you making us proud right now.”
Yamron said that while the closure will give their mother, Fraydel, the opportunity to finally retire after 40+ years, the future remains unwritten for the sisters.
“My sister and I are definitely way too young to retire, so we’re going to be looking for something else,” she said.
“Whatever it’ll be, we’ll enjoy hopefully a little time off and then start looking — but it will definitely be in Winnipeg.”
The restaurant will be making an announcement in the near future about the plans for Nathan Detroit’s final days.
The president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce says it’s a simple fact that businesses like Nathan Detroit’s need more people downtown in order to stay open, and that as more and more businesses take on debt to make it through, many have reached their limit.
Loren Remillard told 680 CJOB that he feels the government should look into easing debt conditions for small businesses.
“As it relates to some of the paybacks on some of the programs that were run through the pandemic, let’s take a look at how we can help those small businesses maybe with a little bit of debt forgiveness, extending the debt repayments, zero interest,” he said.
“All of these measures that we can help to put some elasticity back into those small businesses.”
Remillard said survey statistics from chambers of commerce across Canada show that more than half have no room to take on more debt.
“When you take that specifically for small businesses, that number rises to 60 per cent — they just do not have any elasticity left.”