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Fullerton Group Makes a Difference for Small Businesses

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“It takes a village and we’re so glad to be in this one” said a heartfelt online post from The Olde Ship. The family-owned British pub on Harbor Blvd in Fullerton has been around since 1993. The management posted this grateful response to address the support of the “village” they got several weeks ago in an event that highlighted the pub.

That event was due to a new, concerted effort in town to step up and help small Fullerton restaurants affected by closures due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order. An online group made up of citizens looking to help these affected businesses was formed on Facebook, called Fullerton Loves Food. The group has nearly 3,000 members with the intent of creating a “cash mob” at pre-planned spots in our city. Administrators of the group pick 2 restaurants a week (crowdsourcing suggestions from members) to encourage its followers to order takeout on those designated days, Wednesday and Saturday.

It all began on April 1 when local resident Sarah Harmon threw a unique birthday party at the request of her husband Chad, who asked people to celebrate by placing an order at Roll & Grill on Commonwealth, as a show of support for one of his favorite sushi spots. It was estimated that Roll & Grill had a staggering 70 takeout orders from Chad’s birthday when someone posted the question: “What if we did this every week?”

Sarah Harmon sprang into action. The online group was established saying, “Times are tough right now. But as a community, we are always tougher.”

The group engages with members all week, asking for participants to post photos of their takeout offerings, providing opportunities to win gift cards, and generating debates with such questions as, “Who has the best donuts in Fullerton?” The vibe online is definitely one of positivity and solidarity.

Joining Sarah on the Fullerton Loves Food team of volunteers is Hannah Nossaman and Dave Smits, both of whom reach out and coordinate directly with the staff at these eateries, making sure the event runs smoothly and is well-organized.

The group has featured these eateries to date: Brownstone Cafe, Let It Brie, Curry Hut, The Bowery, Bourbon Street, Les Amis, Hidalgo’s, The Cellar, Chicana Vegana, Gonzo’s Tacos, Angelo & Vinci’s, Pickled Monk, Crepes Bonaparte, The Olde Ship, Back Alley Bar and Grill.

With the slow re-opening of dine-in services, will the group still feel compelled to show their support? Kari Thune answered: “Several of us realized what an epic idea this truly was and we want to keep it running for as long as this crazy pandemic situation pans out.”

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