FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The pandemic has claimed two more well-known businesses in Fresno.
The owner of Vyxn Restaurant and Lounge and Jugo Juice & Salad Bar says they are closed for the foreseeable future.
“For me, it’s not so much a financial decision but a mental decision to get off this roller coaster,” said owner Lewis Everk.
Everk says the 10 p.m. curfew in place for California counties in the ‘purple tier’ was the latest blow to Vyxn, which was about to celebrate its one-year anniversary.
As for Jugo Juice and Salad Bar, Everk says with gyms and other businesses near its three locations also closed, it reduced foot traffic. Rose Nazari, 16, got her first job at Jugo in July. She was one of 120 employees informed about the businesses closing Monday.
“I was devastated. Jugo not only do the employees love it but it’s a community like we have regulars that come in every single day, three times a week, it’s just… I don’t know what to say I’m speechless,” said Nazari.
Everk didn’t go down without a fight. He says he applied for assistance, took out nearly $300,000 in government loans, and chipped in another $200,000 of his own, just to try to keep his businesses going during the pandemic.
“At this point for me it’s just stopping the bleeding to save anything I have left to start up something later in life,” said Everk.
The business owner also advocated for other small businesses in the Central Valley. He created a Facebook group called ‘Open Central California’ which now has nearly 22,000 members. He says he is ready for criticism but that this was the smartest move financially.
“I fear now for the many business owners who now have to make the decision that’s exactly what I’m doing, and at this point, as a businessman, the decision to close down is far better than trying to fight to stay open,” said Everk.
His disappointment lies with local and state governments who he says haven’t done enough to help local businesses survive.
“We’re looking at big businesses receiving record-breaking sales and record-breaking profits while the small guy, the local guy who has lives here born and raised is suffering to extremes that warrant shutting down every restaurant I have,” said Everk.
Both Jugo Juice & Salad Bar as well as Vyxn will be open through Wednesday, November 25, according to Everk.