Internet crowdfunding keeps many Michigan restaurants afloat amid pandemic

Indoor dining limited to 25 percent capacity under revised restrictions

Internet crowdfunding keeps many Michigan restaurants afloat amid pandemic
Internet crowdfunding keeps many Michigan restaurants afloat amid pandemic

WHITE LAKE, Mich. – Restaurants across Michigan will be able to reopen indoor dining Feb. 1 with restrictions -- such as operating at 25% capacity and a 10 p.m. curfew.

READ: Michigan restaurants prepare to reopen indoor dining Feb. 1

Some restaurants mean more to their local communities than just a breakfast special or ice cream on a hot summer day. We know this based on the response to online crowdfunding pages set up to help a place like Dave & Amy’s off Highland Road in White Lake.

The place opened in 2002 and may not make it to 2022, but owner Dave McManaman said a fundraiser gives him some hope.

Dave & Amy’s is a family diner. Nothing fancy, just good food, attentive service and a lot of regulars who love the atmosphere. At least they did when they could get inside.

While the diner can do takeout, it doesn’t pay the ever-mounting bills.

“My gas and electric bills are in the tens of thousands now,” McManaman said. “You could pay a little bit here, a little bit there, but you also have to live. Everyone’s calling me for money.”

To stay ahead of the bill collector, McManaman took a security job. He works the restaurant during the day but works 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. at his other job.

When he contemplated shutting down both his restaurants, a friend from grade school helped him to create a GoFundMe page to raise money.

It has raised nearly $10,000. You can donate here.

“I couldn’t be more grateful from people I’ve known from school, people in the community, the people I serve,” McManaman said.

Dave & Amy’s isn’t the only one looking at crowdfunding. Ray’s Ice Cream, off Coolidge Highway in Royal Oak, is a generational business that’s been around for 60 years.

“A business really should be able to make it on its’ own,” said owner Tom Stevens.

He never envisioned needing help either, but the COVID pandemic has been unprecedented.

“I just had to put my ego aside or whatever and just, ‘Alright, I am not doing down without a fight,’ kind of thing,” Stevens said.

Ray’s Ice Cream -- started by Stevens’ grandfather -- found revival with nearly $75,000 donated from friends and fans. You can donate here.

Both McManaman and Stevens said GoFundMe pages have been life-saving, but they only begin to cover the debt they’ve taken on during the pandemic. They’re hopeful something resembling normal returns by summer in order to help them stay in business.

More information on Ray’s Ice Cream can be found on its official website or its official Facebook page here.

More information on Dave & Amy’s can be found on its official website or its official Facebook page here.


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