Chippewa Valley Restaurants Step Up to Help Residents in Need
Loopy's delivers free meals to elderly, sick in the community
Caitlin Boyle, photos by Andrea Paulseth |
As Chippewa Valley eateries try to survive during Wisconsin’s now-extended stay-at-home order, a number of them have decided to help the community despite being shut down for several weeks.
Two of the numerous local businesses lending a hand are part of the fabric of Chippewa Falls. Bye the Willow and Catering by Design, 501 N. High St., an event and catering company operating in the downtown area, is offering customers catered home-cooked meals and grazing trays. Adam Kazort, who runs Bye the Willow with his wife, Rebecca, is letting customers order unique grazing trays to be given as gifts to health care workers and nursing homes. He says the company has made and delivered about 10 trays; orders can be placed on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 4-7pm.
Kazort says while their business is small, he is grateful for the support he has been given from the community. “My wife and I feel very blessed at the community support which has been enough to meet our goals,” Kazort says.
“My wife and I feel very blessed at the community support which has been enough to meet our goals.” – Adam Kazort, Bye the Willow
Loopy’s Saloon & Grill and Loopy’s High Shores Supper Club, both owned by Bill “Loopy” Kleich, are another pair of local businesses trying to help Chippewa Vallians through the pandemic. When Kleich had to completely shut down the restaurants in March, he didn’t know how he would bring in income without getting the usual crowds. He says after a night of feeling sorry for himself, he woke up the next morning wanting to figure out a way to give back. He decided to offer free meals to the elderly and sick people who can’t leave their homes.
In addition to the free meals, the restaurants are proudly offering curbside pick-up, carryout, and delivery for hungry customers within a 10-mile radius. The idea has generated a positive reaction, Kleich said.
“We have a chef at High Shores who makes up the menu every night that offers customers two or three different dishes to choose from,” he says. “The dishes may include lasagna, other pasta dishes, and a Friday night fish fry.” The saloon offers pretty much everything on its menu.
Kleich says even though money is tight and the income brought in from the service will go towards making payroll, he hopes to continue offering and delivering food for as long as he can. From having 20 to 25 employees at each location, he is now down to five to seven employees and is making and delivering meals with the skeleton crew he has available.
Another innovation is a special program for long-time and loyal Loopy’s customers. Loopy’s Legacy offers customers a chance to cash in at the restaurant or saloon. Similar to buying GreenBay Packers stock, customers can buy a personalized Loopy’s Legacy Commemorative Certificate for $100 and get big rewards in return: The certificates can be used at any time at either Loopy’s location for a $115 gift card. To make the deal sweeter, a $10 value will be added to all certificates annually on the date they were issued. For example, if a customer holds on to a gift certificate for five years, it will be worth $165 in Loopy’s gift cards.
Loopy is counting on the certificates to get him through the quarantine, but his main focus is survival. The longer he can survive, the sooner he will be able to get his business up and running and see the customers he has missed during the last couple of months.
Bye the Willow • 501 N High St., Chippewa Falls • (715) 790-7530 • facebook.com/byethewillow
Loopy’s High Shores Supper Club • 17985 County Highway X, Chippewa Falls • (715) 723-9854 • facebook.com/LoopysHighShore
Loopy’s Saloon & Grill • 10691 Bus Hwy 29 / Hwy X, Chippewa Falls • (715) 723-5667 • facebook.com/723loop