Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor reported over 700,000 jobs were lost across the country due to the economic impact of the coronavirus. For the last month, thousands of New Mexicans have applied for unemployment benefits.
The economic slowdown during this pandemic has also impacted the business of news. The Santa Fe New Mexican has laid off staff and the Las Cruces Sun-News has furloughed employees.
During this challenging economic time, one local newspaper in Silver City has launched a food delivery service to help boost revenue and offer help for local restaurants.
IndiEats launched by the Silver City Daily Press and Independent delivers lunch and dinner in and around Silver City. The Newspaper’s publisher Nick Seibel says it’s an idea he’s been considering for some time.
“We report news, obviously we help businesses market, but we also deliver things,” said Seibel.
Seibel says the food delivery service can help bring in some revenue for the paper and their drivers. He also says the service can aid restaurants no longer able to serve dine-in customers due to New Mexico’s public health emergency order in the state to fight the spread of COVID-19.
One of the restaurants using IndiEats is the Adobe Springs Cafe. Gregg Cook owns the restaurant with his wife Jennifer. He says the pandemic could not have hit their business at a worse time. They recently made an expensive move downtown into a 100-year-old building.
“Eight months of remodeling and putting a lot of time, and a lot of money, and a lot of effort into getting the building up, and just to be cut off at the knees where you’re not making anything, and here we sit in this huge facility for a full dining experience and we’re cut down to nothing but curbside and pick-up,” said Cook.
Cook says having to close dine-in service cost the restaurant about 85 percent of their sales. He says carry out orders have also dropped dramatically, so IndiEats helped add another way their food can get out the door.
“We don’t carry insurance for delivery drivers and we were concerned with having our own staff in their vehicles and having to carry their own insurance, so IndiEats was just kind of one of those answers to a situation that we were kind of stuck in,” said Cook.
Many in New Mexico may also feel like they are stuck with tough financial choices right now, including Daily Press Publisher Nick Seibel. He says they’ve already had to temporarily cut the Monday and weekend editions of the newspaper, but they’ve made a commitment to not cut off subscribers during this public health emergency. Seibel admits the food delivery service is no panacea for the paper’s current financial needs, but he’s hopeful.
“This is not going to change the trajectory of our business right now. I do kind of hope that when this is all over, people will find it as a useful service. Right now, the focus is just on helping out our readers and helping out our fellow businesses.”