AURORA, Colo. — It was supposed to be a dream come true. Michael and Stephanie Dries bought the Colorado Catering Company on March 10, but that dream immediately turned into a nightmare as the coronavirus and its economic aftermath swept across the country.
"We went from having about about $7,000 to $10,000 in sales a day to maybe one for $100," explained Stephanie Dries. "So we had to start laying off people — and that broke our hearts because we were the new owners just coming in and they were some people that I didn’t even get to meet."
To make matters worse, the federal Paycheck Protection Program disqualified the couple from receiving funds. The company they started to make the purchase was incorporated too late.
"We were excited when we heard about it because we thought we could bring back the 27 employees," said Michael Dries, who started the LLC with his wife in March. "The next day, we found out we didn’t qualify for it. So it really kind of stings."
"I need the government to realize that there are all these businesses that cannot even qualify," Stephanie Dries explained, saying they had called numerous banks but none offered any hope. "We’re not even going to get a chance to apply."
So now they are getting creative. Instead of catering large events, like corporate retreats and weddings, the owners and chefs are entering the world of delivery and curbside pickups. It wont bring in major revenue, but it might hold them over until the economic storm passes.
When it comes to food delivery, "you don’t think of a catering company as the first place you’re going to call," said Michael Dries. "But we do it. We’re trying to show people that we can do it and that it’s good."
Denverites can visit www.coloradocatering.net for a full menu. And as the company pushes forward with a fraction of the staff, Michael Dries says he is doing the deliveries himself.
"We are happy to do it for them," he said about his customers. "It’s not just us, it’s our employees in the community around us and the whole customer, if they want us to be able to survive."