Mainstreet Daily News, in a collaboration with Noel Leroux, founder of Gainesville Downtown, is spotlighting downtown businesses to learn how each one is coping with the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation.
Louis Wynn has been the proud owner of Big Lou’s NY Style Pizzeria, 5 SE 2nd Ave., for almost 17 years. He’s determined to see the restaurant through another 17 years, but first he and his staff have to get through the COVID-19 scare that has dealt his business a blow.
“People are still supporting us, but we’re way down. So is everybody,” Wynn said Monday night from the patio in front of his eatery. “We are fighters. We’ll stay open no matter what just as a service for our customers. We owe them for 17 years. Without them, we wouldn’t be in business.”
The pizzeria continues to open for lunch from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. daily and for dinner from 4:30-9:30 p.m. Customers can order off a full menu by calling 352.224.5555, going online to biglouspizzeria.com or by dropping by the place and ordering from a table set up on the patio. Big Lou’s also uses four delivery services to bring food and beverages to your door.
Wynn said that business has been down as much as 75 percent. His normal staff of 28-35 employees is down to fewer than 10.
“To put it in a nice way, we’re keeping this place open for our employees. We’re not making money; we’re losing money. But we’re keeping our employees working. It’s better for the economy.” Wynn said he expects things to continue like this for at least seven more weeks. “We probably do just about more lunch than anybody downtown, but that’s trickled down to nothing,” he said. “We’re not selling the beverages and all the extra stuff that comes with dining, like appetizers and desserts.”
All he asks is that the community continue to support his local business in these difficult times. “We’re going to get through this, but it won’t be easy.”
Noel Leroux is the publisher of gainesvilledowntown.com, a website dedicated to covering all things downtown. His mission is to inform, entertain and engage readers with compelling articles about arts, entertainment, and the foodie scene in Gainesville.