Kennewick restaurant owner pleads for customers to keep supporting local businesses

KENNEWICK, WA - It's been a tough year for all of us and particularly local businesses. Now, more than ever, we should do our best to shop locally.

By supporting a small business, you're also supporting the local community. Spending your money these, helps to stimulate our local econom y and keep business booming within our local regions.

SagePort Grille started in 1993, when the owner, Michelle Nilson's dad retired from the Richland Police Department. Her dad wanted to have a place for firefighters, judges and even police officers to hand out.

"It wouldn't be surprising to see a police officer help answer the phone and deliver some orders and just help us take care of our place," Nilson said. "And the next thing we knew, we started having customers come in here, and we had to hire people."

And when her daughter, Rochelle Taylor got old enough. She became their dishwasher.

"We've been here ever since," Nilson said.

Fast forward to March 2020, when the first wave of shutdowns happened because of COVID-19.

"They told us it was going to be two weeks. We thought we could definitely handle that and then it came a little longer," Nilson said. "We were able to keep our crew here."

Then, it turned summer.

"And, it was nice enough for people to get their food to-go and have picnics and eat outside," Nilson said.

Now, we are in winter where it's wet. Michelle said they are grateful for people who are fighting for restaurants to stay open and her customers who continue to support them.

"Somebody came in today and gave us a $500 tip, which started out today very angry and now I am just thankful and their spirits are high today, and we are ready for thanksgiving," Nilson said.

Nilson and Taylor said supporting local businesses is now more important than ever.

"We are the bones of the community. We are the ones that keep our community together. We know our customers. Our customers know us. We have some that have been coming in since they were little," Nilson said. "I just miss my customers," Taylor said.

They both live to connect with people.

Even though they cannot have people sitting inside right now, SagePort Grille is working to keep the fire going outside. While you're waiting for your food, they are offering free hot chocolate and s'mores.