January 26, 2021

The American Express Helps Small Business Community in Greater Palm Springs

By Jamie Handy

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the way many businesses run, with hopes of breaking even in costs to stay open – especially for small, local shops and restaurants.

Between state and federal regulations of wearing masks, no indoor dining at many restaurants, only 50 percent capacity allowed in some states, and social distancing, it has become a challenge for small businesses to figure out how to continue catering to their customers while following protocols.

Local restaurants have especially been impacted, with many patrons resorting to cooking at home with the uncertainty of how COVID-19 would affect the community.

American Express and its PGA TOUR tournament, The American Express, have emphasized “Shop Small, Buy Small” at local businesses for them to continue to operate through the pandemic through their ‘Shop Small’ initiative. The activation has been promoted through their tournament in continued support for the Palm Springs community of small business owners.

In the Greater Palm Springs region, some restaurants opened for decades, unfortunately, have not made it through the pandemic.

On the upside, though it was not easy, some restaurants did make it through these challenging times.

Chef and Owner Michael Beckman of Workshop Kitchen in Palm Springs is one to testify to the challenges of keeping his restaurant open while the world turned upside down. Beckman had opened Workshop Kitchen nearly a decade ago in 2012. He had to reimagine how to run his restaurant through the hardships of the past ten months to ensure it stayed open.

“It’s been especially complicated having a family of small businesses, because we had to adapt and think quickly [through the pandemic] and it’s been a really tough year,” said Beckman.

“Ordering takeout and purchasing gift cards is one of the best ways to support local businesses.”

Tara Lazar is another local of Palm Springs who started the catering group, F10 Creative, in 2008. The company owns five different concepts – Cheeky’s, Birba, Mr. Lyons, Seymours, Alcazar and Toucans – and each of the restaurants dealt with their own obstacles to stay afloat through 2020.

“It’s been a trying time, but also a good learning experience for the team,” said Lazar. “Restaurants are a place where people come to eat, to gather, to celebrate and memories happen at restaurants. The community has been incredibly supportive and I’m thankful for what the community has done for us and continues to do for us.”

Beckman and Lazar are just two of many local small business owners in the Coachella Valley that have struggled to balance safety protocols in the state while meeting costs to stay open.

Whether it’s ordering take-out, purchasing gift cards for future use or dining inside the restaurant following the proper protocols, there are several ways that one can continue to make an impact for the local business owners, especially in the Coachella Valley.

While there is light at the end of the tunnel for these restaurants, they wouldn’t be where they are without the continued support of the community and The American Express helping to spotlight a few in our area where the tournament is played. The “Shop Small, Dine Small” mantra reminds local businesses and restaurants that the community is working to show their support and rally behind them in hopes of keeping these iconic storefronts open during a pandemic.

“Small business owners are the identity of the city,” said Beckman, “and I think that’s what makes Palm Springs so special.”

Author Jamie Handy is a writer for PGATOUR.COM

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