Resilience: Tamara's Story

Local restaurant owner reflects on parenthood, generosity and community

Resilience: Tamara's Story

It’s Small Business Week, so we’re celebrating the resilience of our local businesses! Business owners are invited to attend the County’s free virtual Small Business Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 20 to connect with other entrepreneurs and get practical tips for their work.

"My husband and I have always worked in restaurants. We used to work so hard for other people, so one day we said, 'Let’s just look for a restaurant!'. I was very pregnant when we found the place. We opened in October and I had my daughter in January. I didn’t take a maternity leave. The customers used to come in and offer to hold my daughter so I could work — and I would just pass her along.

That was seven years ago. Now, I know everyone by name. They know me by name. I have two daughters who are always running around. I know a lot about peoples’ lives and they know about mine. Right now, it’s our hardest time. Every day I wake up wondering, 'Is it going to be busy?'. It's like going to work not knowing if you’ll get paid. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. But it’s amazing how people from the community support small businesses. When we were first shut down, people were ordering takeout from us every day. This community is very giving — you can count on them, you know?

And we love giving back too. This past summer I saw so many people asking for school supplies on Facebook, so I put a call out on social media, collected donations and bought the supplies. We ended up helping over 80 families. And Christmas last year was amazing. We got so many restaurants to participate in giving away meals. We gave away over 400, just from us. We’ll do it again this year. My parents taught me to be generous, and I want my kids to learn that too.

This time is still hard. I want to show my girls to be strong — and that it’s okay to cry sometimes too. I’ve learned sometimes you need to ask for help. If you ask, people will help you without wanting anything back."

— Tamara Frenkel, co-owner, Gregg Mediterranean and Julia’s Café

This story is part of our Be Real. Be Really Kind. campaign to encourage empathy as our community continues to face COVID-19. If you’re struggling with your mental health, finances or just feel overwhelmed, call our Family and Community Services line at 780-464-4044.

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