Many small businesses across the country are coming face-to-face with the harsh reality that their livelihood- as they know it- may not survive the pandemic.
It’s a sad truth in the age of COVID-19; You either find a way to adapt and evolve or you lose at a game that’s constantly shifting and changing it’s rules.
The Tandem restaurant, located in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights Neighborhood, is just one example of many businesses trying to make it work in uncertain times.
Owner and chef Caitlin Cullen recalls when she knew her business was going to have to change.
“I remember it rolling in. I remember following the news. My sister lives in Michigan so they were a little ahead of the curve on us and seeing it come to fruition. The weekend before the state mandated shut-down, I knew that we were going to have to close,” said Cullen.
Wisconsin’s ‘Safer at Home’ order went into effect on March 25 and tough decisions had to be made.
Culled laid off most of her staff and began cooking the rest of the food she had in her kitchen.
In the following months the Tandem transitioned into a soup kitchen, strictly running on donations and handing out thousands of meals along the way.
Fast forward a few months and Cullen says the needs of her neighborhood have changed.
With a masters degree in education, she’s digging into her roots and transitioning her business once again.
This time into an after school tutoring program designed for kids who are remote learning.
It’s called Tandem 20/20.
“We have a tented area to the side of our restaurant that can seat about 20 kids at a socially distanced outdoor space,” Cullen said.
The free program will provide homework help for students grades 4-10 and will run from 12:30-5:00pm Tuesday through Thursday.
The area will provide a hot-spot for kids to access wi-fi, as well as computers for their homework.
Learn more about Tandem 20/20 at tandemmke.com.
The Tandem 20/20 program begins on Tuesday, September 15th.