Updated: August 20, 2020 07:29 PM
Created: August 20, 2020 07:27 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Businesses across the country are slowly trying to recover following statewide closures, but one local hotel is leaning on an expansion to draw in more traffic.
"COVID has had a pretty dramatic effect on all businesses in town and particularly our smaller businesses," said Mayor Kim Norton.
With recent data, Norton said less than two dozen businesses in the Rochester area have closed since the beginning of the pandemic; though she said some could have been struggling before it hit.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been allocated from the CARES Act funding to help with small businesses, many in the hospitality industry like restaurants.
"We are not relying only on local guests which are really important for us, but we are relying too on people who are not living in the state and not even in the country," said Hemberto Fermo, the general Manger of Hotel Indigo.
The hotel opened in downtown Rochester just two months before the shutdown, Fermo said it was a hit, but the company remained optimistic, and now they're expanding.
In September, the popular American kitchen and sushi bar CRAVE is expected to open inside the hotel. The cuisine can be found in major cities like Bloomington and Minneapolis, and soon enough in downtown Rochester.
"I think it's going to be a really powerful mix in the are. And we are pretty confident that the people waiting for Crave and the people that are still waiting to visit Rochester and stay with us, now they have the perfect excuse to," said Fermo.
He said that he believes as traumatic as the pandemic has been for some, it has also taught him a lesson.
"In order to keep our business running and we need to assume that the way that we are accustomed to doing business in the past, is no longer valid," said Fermo.
With the necessary safety precautions, downtown access and soon enough a new restaurant, Fermo said he is confident that the hotel will be able to make it through this difficult time. He's even more hopeful that business will pick up sometime in the near future.
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