When Covid hit earlier this year in March and local businesses were forced to shut down for safety regulations, the real estate industry was quickly deemed an “essential service”. All of us in the industry, as well as our clients, home buyers, and sellers were extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue doing business safely and securely. However, not all businesses were able to continue operating amid the pandemic lockdown.
Restaurants, hair salons, gyms, churches, and dozens of other industries faced severe hardship, and some of our most vulnerable population of lower-wage earners have had their livelihoods taken away. Thankfully during the first wave of the virus and subsequent shutdown, we had the Paycheck Protection Program relief from the federal government that helped get some of our business through. Now, we are faced with a second wave of shutdowns and a new host of uncertainties and additional challenges. Although local eateries invested in outdoor dining improvements and revamped their business models to comply with new social distancing rules and safety protocols, these restaurants have now had to adapt once again and shut down all services except for take-out as of Sunday night in order to comply with the new coronavirus regulations.
“I know what it’s like to run a small business and have everything turn on you. I operated my own real estate company in 2008 and had the rug ripped out from under me when the market crashed. I lost part of my company and almost lost everything I owned,” explains Michele Harrington, Broker of Record and COO of First Team Real Estate. “I can’t even tell you the gut-wrenching feeling of not being able to make payroll and having to lay off people who you know need the job. I have so much empathy for the people going through similar hardships now, so we got to work brainstorming how we could support and serve our communities through these difficult times.”
The company took these circumstances to heart and came up with First Team Restaurant Week. Next week beginning on Monday, December 14th, First Team Real Estate offices will sponsor a different local restaurant for lunch every day of the week. Founder and CEO, Cameron Merage, has agreed to kick off First Team Restaurant Week by ordering take-out next Monday for 22 of our local Southern California offices at one of the team’s favorite nearby restaurants.
Tuesday through Thursday, an agent from each of these offices will sponsor their own favorite restaurant by ordering take-out and either bringing it back for our essential staff, or delivering it to frontline community heroes at the local police department, fire department, or hospital. Be on the lookout for our standout agent heroes who we will be announcing their First Team Restaurant Week sponsorships next week on social media by following the hashtag #FirstTeamRestaurantWeek.
Michele also issues this challenge to others, “Our industry – despite covid – has had one of its best years on record. I challenge all real estate companies and REALTORS® to show their gratitude for this good fortune by helping those who haven’t been so fortunate. Supporting our restaurant owners and workers is the least we can do for our local business community.”