SAGINAW (WJRT) - (10/21/19) - A GoFundMe account has been set up to help keep the doors open at a well-loved Saginaw restaurant.
Jim Atwood and Steven West have owned The Savoy Bar and Grill, 127 S. Franklin Street, since 2007.
Best known for their home-cooked meals and service to the community, they've found themselves in a tough spot.
"We realize that is we're going to make it we have to ask for help, and asking for help is the hardest thing to do when you're usually that ones that give help," West said.
Sunday night a GoFundMe was set up in hopes of helping them raise $60,000 to pay off debt, complete with penalties and interest.
The campaign is called, "Save Our Savoy".
For Atwood and West the restaurant has always been about more than just serving food. They work to serve others who need it.
"We love our community, we love our people, and I look at this as a little beating heart of Saginaw," West said.
But their heart has been strained recently.
Since opening the business has grown, but the Great Recession took its toll.
"No, we haven't really recovered we've been maintaining our debt," West said.
West said they've tried to make ends meeting by shifting debt. "The high interest loan, which was the biggest mistake of my life, and it actually put us in a worse spot than we when started."
"Doing the GoFundMe was really hard for us to do, but we can't figure out another way to get the funds to help us," Atwood added.
They've made phone call after phone call, sought out loans, and talked to a lawyer.
When others told them there was no hope, they found a way to keep going.
"A year ago when they said you guys have got to close I thought, 'well we can't close now we've got Thanksgiving in three weeks'," West said.
They stayed open and fed hundreds for the holiday.
Then their focus shifted to their workers, some who have been with them for a decade. "Christmas is coming, we can't put employees out at Christmas time," West said.
But this year without help it'll be nearly impossible to make it through.
"What it would mean to stay open is that, the community wants this just as bad as we do," Atwood said.
Click on the 'Related Link' with this story to be directed to the GoFundMe for The Savoy.