GALION — Several area business and non-profit agencies were recently awarded COVID-19 relief grants to help them continue to operate or make needed enhancements to help them reach out to more customers.
The Galion-Crestline Area and Bucyrus Area chambers of commerce awarded a total of $800,000 to 177 businesses and The Community Foundation for Crawford County awarded $400,000 in grant funding to 13 non-profit organizations. The funding was made available by the Crawford County Commissioners from CARES Act funding the county received.
1803 Brewery & Tap Room, 123 Harding Way East, is one of the Galion businesses to receive the grant from the Galion-Crestline Area Chambr of Commerce and owner John Bassett said the funds couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Our business here is off between 45 and 50 percent, so the state offered a bar and restaurant grant for $2,500 and that paid for half of our license fees,” Bassett said. “Normally bar licenses aren’t all that expensive, but when you’re a brewery to have a bar, that license is expensive.
“When we first got shut down in the April/May timeframe, we started canning beer,” he explained. “We were fortunate enough to have 6,000 cans leftover from when we bought the place, so we just went right into canning mode. And that was survival mode at the very least and then when things opened up business starting going back up to the way it was. We were probably up two-thirds to three-quarters of where we were at.”
State restrictions regarding hours of operation added to the pain, Barrett said.
“And then the governor cutting hours (we could be open) and the mask mandate really killed our business,” Bassett said. “That was the worst thing that could have happened. We were better off when everything was shut down. Because when everything was shut down people buy cans to go. But when things are partially open, that’s cut in half. If it’s either all open or all shut down we’re good. But it’s this halfway mark that’s really bad for us.
“Our hours are greatly reduced,” he said. “We used to be open Wednesday through Sunday. We haven’t opened on Wednesday and Sunday so it’s just been Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Reduced hours because everybody has to be home by 10 p.m. so last call is 9:30 p.m. So it’s really reduced our hours. We have a good core of followers and regulars and they’ve been trying to support us to keep the doors open.”
Bassett noted 1803 Brewery & Tap Room opens at 5 p.m. on the days they are open, with the exception of Saturday, when they open at noon.
Bassett said he applied for the chamber COVID-19 grant and was happy to receive the full amount — a $10,000 grant for the business. He said because their business is off, they are trying to figure out how to make additional revenue.
“And the easiest thing we can do is distribute beer to some local businesses and bars,” he noted. “So what we’re doing with the grant money is we’re going to buy another cooler.”
Bassett noted they currently have one cooler for beers on tap, but it’s barely big enough to support the beers they have on tap.
“So we’re going to put another cooler back in the corner so we can distribute beer. We got our Department of Agriculture inspection done so we can distribute. We’re going to distribute kegs so we can try to make some additional revenue. And that’s really a huge thing for us,” he explained.
Bassett said they have already ordered the cooler and he expects it to be delivered sometime this week.
Bassett said they continue to sell four-packs of their beer, along with howlers and growlers fills to go. Currently, Bassett said they offer seven different types of beer they produce.
“And because we are a full bar, we are allowed to serve other people’s beer and we have a few others. And we have liquor as well, but this is a ‘beer bar’ no doubt about it, but there are a few people who come here who don’t like beer, and that happens, but usually they are here with other people who do,” he said.
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