Customers start fundraiser as Atlanta's Colonnade struggles to stay open during pandemic

An Atlanta staple for nearly a century is on the verge of becoming COVID-19's next causality. The owners of the Colonnade said they are struggling to keep the lights on.

Owner Jodi Stallings said their business is down roughly 50% right now. With the establishment on the verge of closing, longtime customers are now taking action to help keep the doors open.

Thursday evening saw a packed house as news spread of The Colonnade possibly shutting down for good.

"I would hate that," customer Steve Newton said. "I would hate if they ever closed. It would be just horrible."

"That would be very unfortunate because it has a lot of history," customer Aileen Tokunag went on to say.

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It's history dating back nearly a century to 1927.

Stallings said nights like this haven't happened since the pandemic.

"It's upsetting to walk in your business that been here for so long and see it’s changed. You just wish and hope that's gonna come back to normal," Stallings explained.

The restaurant is located on Cheshire Bridge Road near Piedmont Avenue in northeast Atlanta.

Stallings said they used all of their pandemic relief funds back in October.

Even though they've tried various ways to cut costs, it's still a struggle right now.

"I could not conceivably think about being out of business. Not only for ourselves but also for the community and for Atlanta. I think that people depend on us to be there for them," Stallings.

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According to the National Restaurant Association, 37% of operators said the restaurant likely won't be in business six months from now, if there is no additional relief packages from the federal government.

Customers of The Colonnade are now raising $100,000 to help keep their favorite southern dishes on the table.

"Their fried chicken, it is the best," Tokunag explained.

Stallings said she hoping the COVID-19 vaccine will get things back to normal soon so businesses will be able to thrive again.

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