Glastonbury, CT (RestaurantNews.com) When the owners of Cotton Hollow Kitchen, Mark and Joanne Conley, pursued their dream of owning their own restaurant, they could never have predicted the challenges that the year ahead would bring. They are one of many restaurateurs who have experienced firsthand the devastation brought forth by the pandemic.
After having tapped into their personal savings, it became apparent that asking for help was their last option, but it certainly was not without humility. “This was our dream. We knew that we wanted Cotton Hollow Kitchen to survive but we also knew that times were getting desperate. Asking for help doesn’t come naturally but the choice was either to lean into our community or close our doors,” says Mark.
That’s when he and Joanne decided to take to social media, an avenue that they knew held strong potential of reaching a significant audience, and when the community support started to pour in, the results far exceeded their expectations. Soon after Mark published his plea for help, take-out orders were on the rise, in-house dining increased, and gift card purchases followed suit. “One anonymous donor purchased $15,000.00 worth of gift cards that they vowed to distribute within the community,” Joanne adds. “Another woman left a $100 bill on the bar stating that it was a gift from her family. These, and other kind gestures combined made the idea of staying afloat feel more and more like a possibility. We truly witnessed human kindness at its best.”
The future is still very much dependent on many variables, particularly as they relate to COVID-19. But the pair continue to take the required precautions and their venue located at 840 Main Street, South Glastonbury, is equipped with UV air purifying technology, socially distanced dining areas and plastic screens around the bar and between booths. They’ve also gotten very creative in an effort to make up for lost traction and efforts include, but are certainly not limited to, “pop-up” nights in which an evening that they would otherwise be closed is dedicated to a particular theme. “Ramen Night” made its debut on March 2 and patrons can look forward to others including Taco Tuesday on March 9th and “Corned Beef & Cabbage” on Tuesday, March 16th to pay tribute to St. Patrick’s Day.
While the Conleys have been long-time Glastonbury community members, the outpouring of support has really inspired them to take pause and appreciate the magic that tends to unfold in this very special corner of the state. Simply put “We love the village and community of South Glastonbury and the surrounding towns.”
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