Trying to survive at 50 percent

By Aaron Rice
August 5, 2020

“The government shutdown pretty much devastated my business. Today, my business is in financial jeopardy.”

Edward Ferrell and his wife Kristi own Little Yazoo Sports Bar and Grill on Highway 49 in Yazoo City. They purchased it in 2014 when the opportunity occurred.  

“It’s always been a bar here,” Ferrell said. “It’s always been lucrative, so we took a chance on it. We’ve owned it for the last six years, and every year we stayed in the black until this year when they decided we needed to shut down for the COVID 19 outbreak.”

Back in March, the bar was forced to shut down by the state. As opposed to restaurants that could hang on by offering curbside or take out, they couldn’t. The bar would stay locked down for more than two months.  

“They promised us all kinds of grants and loans. Nothing’s happened. I have not received a dime of that money. I’ve had to let good friends go who had worked for me for the last five years because I can’t afford to pay them. I can’t afford to pay the bills. I’m dipping into my savings that we were going to use to update the bar. We can’t do it now.”

Today, Ferrell has to use his income from his other job to pay the bills at the bar because they aren’t making the money needed to cover costs. 

Because even though bars are limited to 50 percent capacity, it doesn’t mean bills have been cut in half. 

“My bills are not 50 percent. I still have to pay the same amount of rent, same amount of lights, same amount of water, same amount of insurance. I try to make a dollar for myself, and there’s just no way to do that. We had a full-time kitchen. Now we can’t afford to pay a cook, so we had to shut the kitchen down. You can’t order half stock, you have to order full stock, and you’re going to lose half of it because you’re not selling it. They don’t split the packages in half because were at 50 percent.

“We’re limited to 50 percent, but it took 90 percent at full capacity just to pay the bills.”

To the Ferrell’s, and those that frequent the bar, it’s more than a place to get a drink. 

“We firmly believe in giving back to our community. Every year we hold a womanless beauty pageant. We take that money raised, and we take care of the DHS foster kids. Anytime someone comes down with cancer, a friend of ours, a patron of our bar, we jump in and do benefits for them, we raise money to help them. We recently had a nurse who had to have emergency surgery, and she’s out for eight weeks. We did a plate cooking here and raised a lot of money that’s going to help pay her bills while she’s out.”

“We love them, they’re family, we’re all family.”

And so, Edward and Kristi will keep fighting. Even at 50 percent. 


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