SB businesses battle outages together

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend business owners banded together Friday amid power outages in an attempt to salvage one of the most important reservation weekends of the year.

“This is much bigger than a football weekend,” said Kurt Janowsky, an owner at Café Navarre.

Janowsky said his restaurant had about 1,400 reservations between Friday and Sunday.

“It's a huge weekend and not being open wasn't an option,” he said.

Café Navarre was one of several restaurants that brought in a back-up generator in an attempt to salvage a weekend’s worth of reservations. LaSalle Grill did the same.

“What could have been a disaster on the biggest weekend of the year has been adverted -- at least for some of us that went out and got come generators,” said Mark McDonnell, Owner of LaSalle Grill.

McDonnell said the move could save him more than $75,000 in revenue that would have been lost had they remained without power the whole weekend.

Many businesses also lent their resources to their neighbors during this rough patch.

“The Vine’s next,” Janowsky said. “They’re waiting for my electrician to get finished at Woochi and then they'll be over to get The Vine hooked up as well.”

Both business owners said they were contacted by other businesses that had escaped the outages asking if they could lend a helping hand.

Concerns about the amount of food and money the outages would cost some downtown restaurants were short-lived.

The president of Stanz Foodservice, Mark Harman, stepped in to help, donating a refrigerator and freezer truck.

It's a gift downtown restaurant owners are grateful for.

“At this point, I'll do anything I can to help anybody,” said Harman. “We're a South Bend company, we care about South Bend.”

“It was about 7:30-7:45, we got the call that Stanz was sending a semi down to save the restaurants in downtown, and what an incredible relief we felt,” said Chicory Café Co-Owner Jeff Morauski.

Stanz Foodservice had to cancel several deliveries and a meeting Friday.

The company plans to keep their truck downtown until all the power comes back on.


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