Business, News

Falls Church Small Businesses Face the Pandemic: Clare & Don’s Beach Shack, Lazy Mike’s Deli

As the pandemic disrupts life across the globe, everyone is being forced to adapt and make sacrifices during the unprecedented crisis. None may be more affected than small businesses, with many being forced to temporarily shutter or adapt operations due to a new normal ushered in by state regulations and social distancing measures. 

According to a recent study from SmartAsset, the City of Falls Church ranks third overall in best places for small businesses and more than 29 percent of City residents depend on small business income, the fifth highest figure in the state.   

The News-Press has asked Falls Church area businesses to share their pandemic challenges and struggles and how the virus has affected operations and the adaptations they’ve had to make in response. Each week, we’ll be sharing their stories.

Today’s featured businesses: Clare & Don’s Beach Shack and Lazy Mike’s Deli

I guess my opening thought will be something like, this really, really sucks. So, obviously we can all agree on that. As a small business, especially a restaurant, the situation we find ourselves in is dire, but we all know that. Here’s something we didn’t know… 

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We didn’t know how deeply devoted all of our friends and customers are to our business. To say we are touched by the outpouring of love and support would be the biggest understatement anybody has ever said, ever. From the GoFundMe for our staff, to the ordering of carryout during our Beach Shack events. Then there are the check up texts to see how Rebecca and I are doing from concerned people who know how much our restaurants and employees mean to us, it’s unbelievable! 

Another thing we didn’t know is that our team, who we always thought of as family, really are. One surprise is that we have all been able to reconnect with our spouses, loved ones and kids in a way that we never thought possible. Notwithstanding the tragedy, heartache, sickness and death this is an unforeseen silver lining. The same goes in the opposite way for Rebecca and I and our team… we’ve stayed connected while we are apart but let me tell you, not seeing our crew has been brutal! We haven’t been separated from some of the team this long since 1999! These people, who we cherish, are really hurting and it is gut wrenching. It’s weird, one would assume that our prized possession, our business we’ve worked tirelessly at for so many years, being shuttered during our busiest season would be the bad part. It’s not. Not even close. It’s missing our people, our family, by far. Obviously, we knew they were important to us professionally, but the level of personal connection is crazy! Some we’ve known since they were teenagers and now they are married with kids and mortgages. We’ve been through highs and lows, in our lives and theirs, we’ve all laughed, cried, screamed at and not talked to each other (mostly laughed thankfully). We eat together, drink together (duh) some sleep together, dance, celebrate, and so much more together. We are family in every sense. Rebecca and I have always known from the very beginning that it was cool watching our staff grow and some jumping out of the nest to fly on their own, some staying to be an integral part of our successful business was cool. We’ve literally had the pleasure of meeting, employing, and growing closer to hundreds of great people over the years. That the business paid for my kids college, and my Jeep and so much more is pretty good, but the business introducing me to my extended family is immeasurable, and I f-ing miss them so much!

I hope some of the things that have surfaced during this time will stick around. I hope we take time to care about others. I hope we think about the environment. I hope we continue to show empathy, sympathy, honesty, and I hope we vote!

— David Tax, Clare & Don’s Beach Shack, Lazy Mike’s Deli

Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, 130 North Washington Street, Falls Church, clareanddons.com

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Lazy Mike’s Delicatessen, 7049 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, lazymikesdeli.com


Tell us the history of your Falls Church small business, how the virus has affected your operation and the adaptations, struggles and more you’re facing during this unprecedented crisis. Photos, along with the commentaries, are welcome and encouraged. Please send submissions, up to 500 words, to fcnp@fcnp.com.

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