It's Sunday, April 19, a morning that would normally be packed on the back patio at Linda's.
Obviously it's empty today.
The designer and business owner Linda Derschang, who created Linda's Tavern (aka the "Grunge Cheers"), as well as many other restaurants, bars, and clubs around town, delivers this morning's message from the empty patio at Linda's.
It's one that will resonate most deeply for small business owners, whether their businesses are connected to creative industries.
She talks frankly about economic uncertainty, and how it feels when a business that has been doing well begins failing and there's no one to talk about it with. "I was so scared," she says about a clothing store she opened on Broadway in 1987 and had to close five years later. "Honestly, until this, that was the scariest part of my career."
"I couldn't let my employees know how bad it was. I couldn't let friends know. There was so much shame around it. I was unable to get bank loans. I was unable to get help from my family. I didn't have wealthy friends. I didn't know what to do," she explains.
Then she talks about how she turned things around with Linda's.
In a profile in The Stranger in 2018, Charles Mudede wrote that "the essence of Linda is, as she puts it, working with whatever the universe sends her way—meaning working with chance and accidents to achieve, by necessity, a particular kind of feeling or mood."
In her message today, she talks about what people always tell her is their favorite thing about Linda's—someone who works there, it's always about a connection with one of the employees—and she has some news.
"We miss you, and if you miss us, I just want you to know we're doing a pop-up burger window at Linda's, and also at King's Hardware." It started on Thursday, and on the first night they ran out of bags, buns, and Beyond Burgers.
Thank you for this candid glimpse at what it's like to be a small business owner, Linda.
Thank you for making people feel less alone.
Good luck, everyone, with whatever it is you're struggling with today.
Have a peaceful Sunday.
Previously in this series: