(WESTFIELD, NJ) Restaurants are struggling to survive as a result of the pandemic, but, one was offered a lifeline as it was pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy with help from the community.
After hearing Vicki’s Diner, a family-owned business know for its stellar pancakes, on East Broad Street was in imminent danger of closing, loyal customer Patricia Steckler created a GoFundMe page to help rescue the neighborhood fixture.
“She saved us. We were so close to bankruptcy. We ran out of money to pay our purveyors and how much money can you borrow from even your own pockets?” said co-owner Helen Rentoulis, owner of Vicki’s Diner in an interview with WABC7.
The initial goal to raise $25,000 was surpassed within days. As of now, 420 donors have raised upwards of $40,000.
Local artist Jessica Cobuzzi also pitched-in to save Vicki’s Diner. She created an 8 by 8 print of the restaurant’s exterior with proceeds of its sale going toward the GoFundMe page.
“I thought about the possibility of not walking by and looking in those round, dark windows and seeing a neighbor or friend,” said Coubuzzi. “Or not hearing the one lovely waitress before giving you your check ask if there’s ‘any room for cheesecake?’ Or the big round pumpkin that lays on its side on the bale of hay during the fall.”
Coubuzzi said prints for the #ArtForVickis campaign are still available through her Instagram page.
Viciki’s has been serving Westfield’s downtown for 21 years.
Photo courtesy @bigblueette on Instagram.