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Coachella Valley restaurants struggle as trade group warns thousands could close


At Goody’s Cafe in Thousand Palms the sign says “open”, but the dining room is empty.  

Thankfully, for the owners and employees, the drive through was seeing some customers during lunch hour Tuesday.

“It hurts but I know something good will come out of this,” said co-owner George Haralambous.

Haralambous and his family have owned Goody’s Cafes here in the valley since 1970.  

But right now he and his co-owners, who also have stores in Palm Desert and Palm Springs are struggling.  

He says business over the past 3 weeks is down 75 percent and more than half of his workers are laid off.

“It’s overwhelming, it’s stressful, it keeps me up at night.  It is what it is but we’ll get through it,” said Haralambous.

To keep his doors open the father of 3 said last Friday he applied for all of the recently announced federal loans being offered to small businesses,

But he has not yet received confirmation that his applications have been received.

Haralambous also says he’s “dipping into savings”, asking for and getting rent relief at one of his locations, and is offering a $5 box special which includes a burger, fries and chicken strips.

”I like to hit the local places because the big chains most likely have the funds to get through this,” said customer Sergio Brito. 

As part of the effort to help the industry, President Trump is calling for restoring corporate tax deductions for spending on meals and entertainment.

The state’s restaurant Industry employs 1.4 million people according to the California Restaurant Association.

The group says one third of the state’s 90,000 plus restaurants are in jeopardy of closing.

Haralambous simply hopes to hang on.

“There is really nothing else to do, just wait day by day,” said the restaurateur.  

A tortilla vendor delivering to Goody’s said 70 percent of the restaurants in the valley he usually supplies are closed.

Click the link below for a list of some of the other restaurants in the valley also open for business.


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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.


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