Spend Like it Matters: Maize & Barley Turns Lemons into Growlers To Go
Having the opportunity to feed our community is why we are here and we want to keep doing it.
“We did all this with a multi-cultural mindset, too. We seek to engage the community in a cultural food experience based on a Caribbean model of utilizing what you have as it comes to season.”
COVID-19 dealt a tough blow, twice-over, to Maize & Barley, a taphouse and gathering place in downtown Edmonds. Barely a year old, the small, sustainable mom ‘n pop business was forced to temporarily convert their “brick ‘n mortar food truck” into a strictly hands-off operation. On top of that, co-owner Venus Forteza learned she had breast cancer six weeks ago, right as the shelter-in-place order went into effect.
The creative force behind the taphouse part of the cashless Caribbean oasis put everything on hold, including surgeries and treatments, to do due diligence, while serving as an essential business for countless fans of her and chef husband Anthony Kjeldsen’s locally sourced craft beers, sodas, and Latin/Caribbean small bites. Despite the scary diagnosis, Forteza remains fiercely positive, and committed, focusing on what she can control: her eco-friendly mission to invest local, to give back, to spread the word. “We feel strongly about sustainability not just for ourselves but our community. For us, this means local farmers in whom we invest (they need that investment all the more now) and build upon these relationships with the businesses that provide for our region, therefore infusing our money earned into the very community that has supported us.”
How have you adapted? We originally closed for two weeks to help flatten the curve [and to deal with my breast cancer diagnosis]. We felt this was important for ourselves and the community, as there was still quite a lot of activity in town. Since we re-opened last week, we see that we are all practicing better social distancing measures. We announced Tuesday a new online ordering system. We reduced our hours. I laid off all my staff, it’s just us working and we are also homeschooling our third grader. We are grateful our next door neighbor has a child a grade below and so we’ve quarantined ourselves to our houses, so they can help us meet the childcare challenge. Coming into our first year, much of the financial resources being discussed are hard for us to apply for, as our accountant is under orders, meaning we don’t even have our first-year returns. Every business has its challenges and stories of personal difficulties in these times. Ours is being new and not having a lot of “paperwork” under our belt to show loan agencies what our losses look like, so we can apply for assistance. We are grateful to have SBDC (Small Business Development Center) that we’ve been working with for months prior to this to help us plan for growth. For many small businesses, this is a lot to navigate, especially without built-in resources and guidance. The great thing about the restaurant industry, anyone that’s worked in it for a while is quite accustomed to thinking on their feet and being quick to adapt to changing situations. We are taking that skill-set, along with a positive attitude, support of friends, family and community, into every new day to meet the challenges ahead.
What’s the response been? Phenomenal. Edmonds is a wonderful community. Despite these difficult and unusual times, it is a pleasure to go to work everyday, to be able to engage with the community that we have come to know as a business over this last year. “Keep it positive” is a household motto; we can see that in our interactions. We are all taking a moment to inspire each other to “hang in there,” keep it positive, keep it going. We’ll all get through this stronger together.
Do you have online gift cards or gift certificates? We do offer gift cards and e-cards that can be personalized and emailed directly to the recipient.
How can people support you? As a new business, we are not quite cemented in the local scene. Raising awareness of who we are, sharing your experiences with us is a wonderful way to introduce us to others. We are social media hounds and love seeing all the pictures of people enjoying our food and drink. So, post those photos. It’s wonderful to see how we have become a part of the lives of others. Spread the word about us, which is so important for small, new businesses. Order lunch and a growler. Having the opportunity to feed our community is why we are here and we want to keep doing it. We love the interactions, we love the smiles and laughter catching up quickly on the day, and although we miss those little sounds of delight when someone bites into their sandwich, or the look of satisfaction over a meal, we know you’re enjoying it. Some people have even called in to say thank you and rave about the food. It makes me so happy.
Are you doing anything for Earth Day? Earth day, yes. No meat on the menu.
All-vegetarian meal for two:
- two vegan sandwiches (GF on arepa)
- order of papas with aioli
- bowl of soup (vegan/GF)
- one Tembleque (Puerto Rican coconut custard, vegan/gf)
- choice of 64-oz. growler fill or bottle of Prisma Rosé (sustainably grown) — in a reusable cloth bag, $40.
It will be on our website for order as a “basket purchase with options of…” Guests can order ahead of time and choose time of pick-up.
- Maize & Barley
- Contact: 425-835-0868
- Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/maizebarley/
- Website: https://www.maizebarley.com/
- Gift card/gift certificates: https://squareup.com/gift/1PFJQ87P93947/order
- Featured magazine article: https://welcomemagsnoho.com/magazine_article/maize-barleys/