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Small business rallies York community to support small restaurants

In the season of giving, one small business in York rallied the community to support two small restaurants struggling amid recent coronavirus restrictions.

YORK, Pa. — In the season of giving, one small business in York rallied the community to support two small restaurants struggling amid recent coronavirus restrictions.

Bakery and pizzeria Copper Crust Company donated $17,000 worth of food in April to WellSpan York Hospital to assist medical personnel, an effort they named “Feed the Frontlines.”

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Eight months later, the pandemic and continued mitigation measures had cut into Copper Crust’s earnings. Management was struggling to meet payroll.

The owner of a gift shop just a few steps away, Collage, noticed the impact the reduced income was having on employees at Copper Crust and another restaurant in the same complex, Colonial Coffee Shop. The owner, Whitney Morgan, said morale fell even further when Pennsylvania announced new mitigation measures Dec. 10 that included banning all indoor dining until Jan. 4.

Morgan decided to start a GoFundMe to support the two restaurants. Within two weeks the page raised $8,892. Morgan said combined with donations made in-person at Collage, it came to about $9,500. Collage donated an additional $500 to bring the total to $10,000.

“I do believe the pandemic has brought the best out in people here, especially on a human level, just seeing what everybody’s going through,” said Collage’s owner, Whitney Morgan.

The restaurants were initially hesitant to accept the money, Morgan said.

“It’s rough. I don’t like asking for help,” said Sean Austin, owner of Copper Crust. “We like to do it on our own. It was humbling.”

But owners wanted to make sure they could keep paying their employees.

“When they realized that it would really help their employees they all stepped up and definitely joined in and were really excited about it,” Austin said.

The funds came at a crucial time.

Copper Crust had to close for a week in late November after one employee tested positive for coronavirus and most of its 20 employees had to quarantine.

“Too much of our staff had been potentially exposed and on top of that it was our busiest time of year with lots of orders for Thanksgiving,” Austin said.

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Each business received $5,000.

That only covers about three days of expenses at Copper Crust, but Austin said it meant everything to him that customers valued his bakery’s place in the community.

“It didn’t cover everything but it was a substantial portion and the fact that the community did that for us and for [Colonial Coffee Shop] next door is pretty awesome,” Austin said.

The GoFundMe is still open for donations. You can donate here.