When Jesse and April Arellano reopened their restaurant for one day on Mother’s Day, they weren’t planning on Colorado Governor Jared Polis suspending their business license for 30-days as a punishment. Now, they’re just hoping to keep their business afloat.
In an exclusive interview, Jesse Arellano, owner and operator of C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen (C&C), spoke with The Daily Citizen about his decision to reopen his restaurant in defiance of Colorado’s mandates.
“It’s crazy how we’re deemed non-essential, but pot shops, abortion clinics and liquor stores are kept open. We’re trying to save lives, not take them,” Arellano said.
Like many small businesses around the nation, the Arellano’s restaurant has been deeply impacted by shutdown orders and mandates closing their dine-in service.
Arellano told The Daily Citizen that operating without dine-in service has put his business underwater. “When the orders first came down, we obviously complied. We were able to do takeout, online ordering and curbside orders, but that really hit us hard because that only fulfilled around 30% of our normal sales. When we’re just doing takeout and delivery, it destroys us.”
He noted that the $659 billion dollar Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) hasn’t helped them. While they were able to receive a small loan, he thinks they’ll have to end up paying it back because they haven’t been able to use it. Since their kitchen was forced to remain closed and they couldn’t pay their employees, the PPP loan they received won’t help them since they have no one to pay.
He said that prior to reopening, he told his staff not to come into work if they were uncomfortable in any way. A couple of his 25 staff members choose not to go into work.
“We have many loyal customers and we decided that we were going to open up because they didn’t want anything more than to come and eat in,” Arellano said. “We got a lot of hate. I got called a Nazi. People were flipping my wife off and saying they hope we all die.”
“Of course, we don’t want anyone to get sick. Of course, we care about people. We love people and we do a lot with the community. We support churches and youth groups. We donate to causes even though we don’t have a lot. And the picture the media paints is that we’re just horrible people and all we care about is profits over people.”
Arellano said that he tries to live out his Biblical calling to pray for his enemies.
“The media always asks me, ‘What would you said to Gov. Polis?’ You know what I say? I say I pray for the guy. I pray for him. I disagree with him super strongly and I’m not happy with him, but I do pray for him because he was put there for a reason,” he said.
Arellano said they did not receive a warning prior to Gov. Polis suspending their business license.
Supporters have been taping money to the doors of C&C to show their support. “And they keep doing it. We love these people,” Arellano said.
They are planning to file a lawsuit against Gov. Polis’ action against them so they can reopen. While they have had their license suspended for their location in Castle Rock, Colorado, they are planning to open their location in Colorado Springs this weekend.
Asked if he thinks his business will be able to survive the 30-day suspension, Arellano said he didn’t know, but was hopeful they would.
A GoFundMe account set up to support the Arellanos has raised nearly $30,000 which Jesse said will be used to pay rent, keep their business open, support staff and pay legal fees. They will also be donating a portion to churches, schools and businesses in need.
“We’re not out here to hurt people. We love everyone. We’re trying to be the voice for small businesses that are struggling and getting desperate. We even love our haters,” Arellano concluded.
For those who do visit C&C, Arellano suggested trying their big smothered burrito, Korean food or anything with green chile.
To learn more about C&C, click here.
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