Grants bring heat to Smithfield businesses

Grants bring heat to Smithfield businesses

Kountry Kitchen owner Theirry Delos received several heat lamps to warm customers during the winter months while outdoor dining continues as a safe option for dining out. From left, Councilors Sean Kilduff and Suzy Alba, Delos, and Town Manager Randy Rossi during the first round of deliveries of supplies provided by the town using the state’s $75,000 Take It Outside grant. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SMITHFIELD – As temperatures drop and COVID-19 cases rise, 18 local businesses are getting a helping hand to continue business outside, receiving $75,000 in supplies last Friday from Smithfield town officials.

The first two stops of the day delivered outdoor heat lamps to the Thirsty Beaver and Kountry Kitchen. Thierry Delos of the Kountry Kitchen, 10 Smith Ave., said the lamps work much better than he anticipated, and the help was greatly appreciated.

Unlike most restaurants during the pandemic, Kountry Kitchen’s business expanded during the summer with a larger crowd coming for outdoor dining.

Delos transformed his parking lot to the popular Kountry Clam Shack, featuring seafood favorites and live entertainment from local musicians each Saturday. Kountry Kitchen still serves inside at almost 50 percent capacity, and Delos said outdoor dining, especially brunch, is popular.

Kountry Kitchen has three outdoor heating lamps already, Delos said, and the additional lamps will help keep people outside.

Still, he said, he’s noticed in the cooler temperatures that food is getting colder faster.

“This will help a lot,” he said.

Like most local restaurants, Delos moved his dining room outdoors. With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, he said he fears restaurants will soon be forced to close a second time.

“We’re just going to keep moving forward no matter what happens,” he said.

Town Council President Suzy Alba applauded Delos for his adaptability in the face of adversity, saying being able to help businesses and individuals succeed is why she is a public servant.

When closures first hit local businesses, the Town Council hosted informational phone meetings with business owners to help through the pandemic and in reopening, she said.

Pointing to concrete barriers surrounding the outdoor dining area at Kountry Kitchen that were bought at discount from a local supplier, Alba said she is proud of Smithfield’s business community for pulling together.

“Businesses were supportive of each other and helpful to keep everything moving. They all came together to make it work,” she said.

Town Manager Randy Rossi said each of the 18 local businesses that applied for the grant were awarded supplies, including 27 patio heaters, 20 sets of outdoor string lights, one outdoor wireless extender, 35 standalone hand sanitizer stations, 33 tents and sidewalls, 35 surgical masks in packs of 50, eight outdoor work lights, 40 gallons of hand sanitizer, 11 outdoor dining sets, and outdoor audio equipment.


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Rossi pointed out that local tent and igloo retailers are out of stock, and he needed to search out west to find anything available.

“It may be quicker to get an actual Eskimo to make them for us,” he said, adding that the lack of supply to meet the demand shows that the pandemic is still everywhere in New England.

With that in mind, Smithfield extended its state of emergency order to allow businesses to serve food and beverages outdoors in parking lots until the end of the year.

“Hopefully the weather will hold up that long,” Rossi said.

Businesses awarded supplies include Bree’s Deli, Condesa Restaurante Mexicano, Siena, Tavolo Wine Bar, Copperfield’s, The Last Resort, Laura’s Bar and Grille, Northern R.I. Strength and Conditioning, Terrazza, Thirsty Beaver Pub and Grub, Kountry Kitchen, Biagio’s Pizzeria and Bar, Appleland Orchard, Lola’s Lounge, Parente’s Restaurant, Twin River Pizza, the East Smithfield Public Library, the Greenville Public Library, the Village at Waterman Lake, and the Grille on 5.

Smithfield is a recipient of the state’s $2.1 million Take It Outside grants aimed to relieve the costs to local businesses associated with moving businesses outdoors to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

Smithfield received $75,000 in funding secured by grant writer Lisa Andoscia, and dispersed supplies purchased with funds. Rossi said he is hopeful about another round of grants from the state.

Comments

It is encouraging to see this type of financial assistance being offered and facilitated on a municipal level to assist small business in our community. During these difficult times we all have to do our part to help support the small business in our Town stay viable.