TAMPA, Fla. — Pach's Place has been a staple in the Tampa Bay area for the last 20 years, serving up good old-fashioned home cooking. But when the pandemic hit, the doors abruptly closed.
"We had a family meeting. We said 'How much money do we have? I don't know how long we're gonna be closed.' It was intense, very scary," said Cathy Maes, Pach's owner.
Maes said she had to use her savings account just to stay afloat.
"For that six-month period, maybe I would make $200 to $300 a day, maybe. But that $200 and $300 a day added up to be $1,000 to pay for the insurance or added up to be a little bit to cover some things. The thought of 'Am I going to be okay?' never came into my mind. It was not a choice. I had to make this work," she said.
Maes made it work doing anything and everything to help her regular patrons.
"Some were so nervous that they wouldn't leave their house. We would go deliver groceries to them. I would do whatever I could to make $10. I would do everything that I could just to earn it. I'm helping them and they're helping me and it was a great feeling," Maes explained.
Now, she wants to thank all of her loyal customers for keeping her in business.
"Without South Tampa, we wouldn't be here. This community is amazing, everybody actually really cares. No matter where you are. No matter what political side you're on. They love us. They love us no matter what. I learned that. I took it for granted. I took it for granted. I don't take it for granted anymore," she said, as tears filled her eyes.