When the pandemic hit, small businesses all over the country were affected. Many of them even had to permanently shut their doors.
Claire Sumadiwirya thought her Seattle restaurant, Bellden Cafe, would be one of those places. Until that happened, she was determined to do as much for her employees and her community as she could. Now, she’s being rewarded for her unwavering compassion!
The primary goal for most businesses is to make a profit, but that’s never been the drive behind Claire’s cafe.
“When we first started this business my goal was not making money,” Claire said. “My goal was just bringing people together.”
In fact, her business model was built to serve the community. One way she accomplishes this is through menu options that she calls “Charity Drinks.” A percentage of each of these purchases goes toward a good cause.
For example, if you order a “Let Me Love You Latte,” 25 percent of the proceeds will go toward helping low-income families. Meanwhile, if you get a “Bubbly Lemonade,” 25 percent will go toward empowering women through scholarships and workshops.
“She really makes sure that you are the focus and that you are OK,” said Clarita Reyes, the manager of the cafe.
Claire proved just how dedicated she is to her mission when the pandemic drastically affected their profits. As a single mom of three kids and the owner of a restaurant, she had a lot of people counting on her. Rather than throwing in the towel, she found a way to do what she does best: help others.
“The first month I lost 90 percent of my sales,” Claire said. “I really thought we were gonna lose the shop. So I told my team, ‘Hey, if we’re gonna lose this, we have to lose it with the best we have.'”
She was able to keep her staff employed by paying them using her own savings. She also held diaper drives, collected PPE for hospital workers, and gave out free coffee in cups with “You are not alone” written on them.
Her hard work and dedication didn’t go unnoticed. Good Morning America and their sponsor, Expedia, heard about Claire’s story and decided to surprise the mom and her family with an unbelievable prize.
“I heard that you are an avid adventurer and that you love to travel,” GMA host Ginger Zee said. “And Expedia is honoring those who need a little break by offering you and your children a dream vacation… on the sunny shores of Belize!”
As soon as those words came out of her mouth, everyone in the room gasped, including Claire, who couldn’t say thank you enough.
“We did it. We did it together,” Claire said. “Oh my gosh, I’m about to cry. I’m crying inside right now, thank you so much.”
We’re so happy for Claire and her family. Don’t forget to share this story to celebrate with this everyday hero.
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