Paycheck Protection Program Keeps Ovens Burning, Workers Employed at Vauxhall Takeout Barbeque Restaurant
In the Vauxhall section of Union is a hidden hole-in-the-wall that attracts a steady clientele with its combination of Carolina-style barbecue and other Southern staples like fried chicken. Christopher Finnick and his wife, Nakeya, are the owners, with family members helping out working at the restaurant. Chris, a former UPS truck driver, had took over the restaurant from his uncle fifteen years ago and rebranded the restaurant as “2” denoting Chris as the second owner.
Mama’s had just celebrated their new 2,200 square foot location in Vauxhall that Finnick was able to secure thanks to a $75,000 SBA Community Advantage Loan and Microloan for $15,000 from the Regional Business Assistance Corporation after outgrowing his former 750 square foot location.
The new added space had increased the restaurant’s capacity, allowing Chris to now offer catering and to continue to serve up his signature southern-style barbecue dishes of chicken, ribs, pulled pork, fried shrimp, and catfish. In just a short time, the SBA assistance has helped Mama’s Southern Style BBQ 2, LLC increase its annual sales by 61% and the number of employees by 66%.
Then as COVID-19 hit the New Jersey-New York region, public health restrictions setting in. Finnick continued his pure take-out menu and ensured all employees maintained public health requirements while working.
Thanks to an SBA Paycheck Protection Program First & Second Draw loan, Finnick persevered. While COVID-19 initially presented some challenges for Finnick and Mama’s Southern Style BBQ2, Chris says it best: “In the beginning of the pandemic, we were struggling as everything shut down. We still had employees and their families – part of our family, literally and figuratively – to worry about.”
“However, thanks to First and Second Draw PPP loans from the SBA, we were able to retain all our employees. We put a lot of safety measures in place, including plexiglass across our pick-up counter and a sliding barnyard door in front of the grill to ensure that our food preparation area is safe, as well. Because we are primarily a takeout barbecue restaurant, we saw our sales increase by 40% too,” Finnick adds.
Today, Finnick continues to serve up a menu that includes barbecue chicken, ribs, pulled pork, fried shrimp, and fried catfish that come with an assortment of sides that include collard greens, string beans, cabbage, baked mac & cheese, french fries, coleslaw, and potato salad, as well as its signature cornbread and desserts. According to Finnick, the rubs and sauces for the barbecue are family recipes that come from North Carolina and have a vinegar-base. Meats stay on the barbecue pit for six to seven hours at a time.