In March, one week prior to Governor Charlie Baker’s order that all non-essential businesses must close due to the pandemic, the staff members at Sandy Paws were expressing the importance of local businesses supporting one another. At the time, the owner of the pet grooming salon, Amanda Koutalakis, had no idea that all businesses would be shut down due to the health and safety concerns of COVID-19.
Now, as businesses start to emerge from the quarantine, some are struggling more than others, and Koutalakis has stood by her word when it comes to supporting one another within the community. On a mission to help her fellow business owners, Koutalakis is donating 5% of her sales to interested businesses in need of a little support.
“I just thought to myself that I’d be out of business if I were still closed at this point. We need businesses to open in this town, not close,” said Koutalakis.
Virtual Reality Gaming Arcade, 4XVR, had only been open for a short time before they were forced to closed due to COVID-19. As owner, Andrea Cirelli, prepares to open the entertainment venue in the next phase of reopening, she is grateful for the extra help.
“We had received messages from customers back in March asking us not to close as it was the only place that let them escape this crazy world for a while but obviously safety and health came first and we quickly closed our doors along with everyone else. Even though we had a solid business plan in place, I don’t think anyone could have seen a pandemic coming or seen it hit this hard. Being closed so long has put a strain on our business and like so many other small businesses we are finding our working capital going quickly with paying our ongoing expenses such as utilities, rent and vendors just to hang on to the hope of opening again soon.”
Like many other business owners upended by the closures, losing hope was not part of Cirelli’s plan.
“When we saw that Amanda had generously offered this support for us, we were so very grateful. Her genuine concern is heartwarming. Every little bit of support helps small businesses, but more importantly this is proof that there is still those like Amanda that find it important to help others. This builds strong communities, this builds a town to be proud to live in. So thank you Amanda and others like you- the Chamber of Commerce and Kate Economides who also advocate strongly for our local businesses without hesitation.”
While Koutalakis will be contributing via her sales and a donation jar at Sandy Paws, donations can also be made via Venmo at: Amanda-SandyPaws. If you are a business owner, interested in receiving some support, please contact: [email protected] or 617-846-7297.