At the end of last year, Melendez began buying gift cards from his own advertising money from local restaurants in his community and giving raffles to his customers on his restaurant’s Facebook page in an attempt to boost their sales. Winners received a $20 gift card to a local restaurant.
According to WKOW, the receiving restaurants said they were thankful for Melendez’s generosity and know that surviving the pandemic means working together. “In these Covid times, it’s very important to eat local, small mom and pop shops,” Pete Ananiadis of Olympia Family Restaurant told WKOW. “He understands that, and for all of us right now it’s a tough time.”
Melendez says it’s important to help keep small businesses open during the pandemic because they are the community’s staples.
“That’s part of what keeps us alive,” he said. “You can go to Applebee’s, or you can go to Pizza Hut but it ain’t the same like when you go to this little diner or pizza joint.”