Ezekiel Miller, Co-Founder, The Cochecton Firestation Community Bar & Restaurant
When New York went on "pause," Ezekiel closed the doors of The Cochecton Firestation Community Bar & Restaurant for one day. The next day, he reopened with a brand new business plan for take-out only, seven days a week.
"Take-out was never part of our revenue streams. We weren't prepared for it. But we needed to find the most cost-effective way to pivot immediately. There could be no zeros on the books," says Ezekiel Miller.
Located in upper Sullivan County on the Delaware River, Ezekiel and his business partners converted The Cochecton Firestation into a gourmet-American bar and grill with a wood-fired oven and craft cocktails. Open just a little over a year, 2020 projections showed a 30 percent increase in revenues. However, the impacts of the pandemic resulted in a 40 to 50 percent decrease. But Ezekiel and his team are more determined than ever to protect their investment and take care of their employees.
"My number one priority is to protect the jobs of my employees," says Ezekiel. "Many of them are building the foundations of their careers at The Cochecton Firestation Community Bar & Restaurant, and I want to show them that despite every circumstance, we would keep going."
Instead of investing in outdoor seating, Ezekiel installed a large take-out window and reorganized operations for full-time take-out, with a new take-out menu, biodegradable packaging, and cocktails to-go. For Ezekiel, take-out is the only scenario he can control.
"Our customers can count on us to prioritize their health and safety. I've put everything I have, my whole life, into this restaurant because I'm committed to my team and my customers. We are in this together," says Ezekiel.
We are privileged to be part of The Cochecton Firestation Community Bar & Restaurant story—when they opened their doors a year ago with support from our small business loan—and now with our $10,000 Emergency Express Loan.
"Community Capital New York's Emergency Express Loan helped me to sleep at night. I knew it was there as a security blanket if I needed it. I am grateful to CCNY for stepping in exactly when I needed it!"