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New Richmond restaurant owner asks for help: 'We used our life savings'

Posted at 8:29 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 15:27:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A new Richmond restaurant is asking for help. Subconscious Cafe, located in the Fan, was forced to close days before its planned Grand Opening.

While the cafe has reopened for carryout, its owners said it may not be open for long.

Co-owner Randyl Walter said the restaurant had its soft opening on March 14. But before the March 17 Grand Opening, the cafe was forced to close due to the coronavirus.

For a seven-week period, Walter said he paid his staff half-salary and fed them with food that was supposed to be for the restaurant.

Shortly after, Walter learned he would not be able to get federal assistance since the restaurant wasn't open prior to January 31.

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Walter said they decided to open for carryout, and are doing the best they can. But he estimated they could only survive at the current rate for another couple of weeks.

"We used our life savings to open this," said Walter. "Literally. Pretty much all the money we had. And we’re trying to get through it. That’s all. We’re going to have to make it."

Walter said they even considered closing permanently last week.

"Last week I said, you know Leslie, we have to close the restaurant permanently. It's not working. And she agreed. And then when I came to work to break the news to everybody, she calls me on the phone. Says, 'Randy, keep the restaurant. Just keep it. Keep going,'" said Walter. "So that's what I do."

Walter said they started a GoFundMe, and have qualified for the small business relief initiative, where GoFundMe will match $500 to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.

Walter also said Subconscious Cafe is offering free coffee and masks to anyone who stops by right now.

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