Guntersville business owner excited for summer after difficult pandemic year

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 7:02 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - People in Guntersville are gearing up for a big Memorial Day weekend after the festivities and business of the holiday weekend were mostly cancelled by COVID-19 last year.

Anita Duncan, the owner of Rock House Eatery, said she expects this to be the start of a great summer for the area.

“We’re excited about this year,” she said. “We’re excited about Memorial Day, being in Guntersville it brings a lot of people to our area for the lake and just to get outdoors, and I think people are ready to be around each other.”

Duncan said this last year has been difficult for her business and the others in town, but now they’re ready to celebrate making it through.

“I don’t even know if we were even thinking about Memorial Day, it was really just more about just figuring out a way to keep the doors open and my employees working, they needed their jobs,” Duncan said.

She said they needed to be creative and think outside the box to keep the doors open, even though the simpler route would’ve been to just shutdown for a little while.

“There were days where it would have been easier for me to just close the doors for a while because it was so much additional work just trying to maneuver through it,” Duncan said. “It wasn’t just trying to figure out how to serve our customers, you couldn’t get certain supplies, you couldn’t get food from the distributors.”

Instead, she kept the business running and continued to keep her employees paid. Duncan said she considers her staff a family and was happy to have not laid anyone off during the pandemic.

On a much larger scale, Duncan said she’s happy they could help the Guntersville community, as well.

“We were in the middle of this pandemic and we are just focused on what we can do for our community, how we can serve the community and how we can just keep our doors open,” she said.

Duncan said they gave out milk, eggs and toilet paper when those items were hard to find on store shelves. Duncan said the community has returned the favor, and then some.

“I think by doing that our customer base has really stayed with us, and I can’t say enough good things about this community and Guntersville and the way the community has supported the local businesses,” she said. “They cared about our employees and they’ve cared about us as a business.”

Duncan said they have now seen months of good business, with more and more people coming each week. She expects Memorial Day weekend to be the kickoff for a great summer in Guntersville.

“I think that year of things being the way that they were opened a lot of people eyes to see what’s important and to see how much community is important and how much everybody needs each other in a situation like this,” she said.

Duncan said they’re still thinking about those who aren’t quite ready to be back in a restaurant yet. They’re keeping to-go orders running for people who will be enjoying Memorial Day weekend at home.

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