Ready to serve: Restaurants are struggling to recover from the pandemic, and many won’t make it.

Posted on April 21, 2022 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments

Saskia Geerts and her husband Claude Perreault bought the property at 14 Sydney Street in Digby, Nova Scotia in 2015. The place was originally built in 1902 as a church and they thought it had character. They spent the better part of two years on renovations before a grand opening in August 2017 as the Sydney Street Pub & Café.

“Pub is a public house. It’s meant for the community, for people to get together. A lot of our focus has always been on creating a space where people can hang out through live music, through organizing trivia, all those kinds of things. And of course, with the pandemic, all of a sudden people have to keep apart,” Geerts said, silence filling a beat, on a long, mid-winter call with Atlantic Business Magazine.

“It’s been quite a few years,” she said.

Looking ahead, it’s expected to take at least as long as the couple’s pre-opening renovations and maybe longer to clear new debt they’ve taken on in the pandemic.

Everyone knows the hospitality sector in Canada and restaurants in particular were challenged after the arrival of COVID-19 and the implementation of essential public health restrictions. However, those stories often came to light as brief news items, single discomforts in the midst of the overwhelming stress of the past couple of years. It is all too easy to forget the totality of it, the people at the centre and their still-long road to financial recovery.

 

Exterior view of Sydney Street Pub  (Photo courtesy: Saskia Geerts)

 

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