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Memphis, Tenn. (July 10, 2020) – Sekisui has been a staple of the Memphis restaurant scene for three decades. But when COVID-19 hit, the popular spot was not immune to the effects of the pandemic.

“The business was reduced to just to-go orders,” said Sekisui owner Yoshitaka Ishii. “My staff of eight full-time and 17 part-time employees was cut to six part-time employees.”

In all, sales are down 83 percent for the business.

“Social media has been our lifeline as we communicate with our customers,” said Ishii. “We continue to advertise that we are open for to-go orders and that we opened the dining room.”

Restaurants have been hit hard by COVID-19 and comprise nearly a quarter of the NEED Grants approved so far. Sekisui received a $5,000 grant from EDGE today to help it deal with the pandemic. Ishii is also doing all he can to keep his customers and employees safe.

“Our employees wear masks and gloves and we use paper menus,” said Ishii. “We spread out the dining hall to ensure social distancing and we will make customers wait outside if there is a wait for tables. This grant will help us advertise the fact that we are open and purchase needed supplies to protect the public and our staff.”

Sekisui was one of three restaurants and nine businesses overall that received assistance from EDGE today. Others approved for a NEED Grant were:

  • Juliet Pocket Squares
  • Robata LLC
  • Amy’s Nails
  • Basil Bailey Salon
  • Extreme Wear
  • Ms. Rhonda’s Nest
  • More Therapy LLC
  • The Wing Factory East

To date, the Committee has awarded $533,500 to 96 businesses throughout Memphis’s most vulnerable neighborhoods; 76 of those (79%) are minority- and women-owned businesses.

The Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development (NEED) Grant was created to provide relief to small businesses, located in Memphis’ most vulnerable neighborhoods that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sekisui Owner