Through the help of the community, Tammy’s Diner in Round Hill will have the capacity to stay open at least through February.
Diner owner Tammy Hines said she, like most other restaurant owners, has been struggling to keep her doors open ever since Gov. Ralph Northam’s first order mandating dining establishments close to the public March 23. She said, “this is the worse I’ve ever been”—and Round Hill resident Matthew Speer could see it in her eyes when he and his family ate at the diner two months ago.
To help out, Speer tipped Hines $50 on that occasion then later set up a Facebook fundraiser, with the goal to initially raise $250. When contributions came flooding in at the end of November, Speer raised the goal amount to $1,000, then $2,000, $10,000 and eventually to $12,000. By afternoon on Dec. 11, more than 160 people had already contributed more than $11,500.
“It took off like a bandit,” Speer said.
Hines said the support has been “wonderful” and that Matthew has done “an awesome job.” She said she could make the donations last through February.
In that time, she’ll continue paying up to $325 just to run operations each day, $1,000 each month on rent and $2,000 each month to pay her single employee, among paying for other expenses both professional and personal. At home, Hines also has a disabled husband and sick daughter to care for.
“This is my livelihood, this pays my bills here and at home,” she said about the diner. “I can’t survive on a three or four hundred dollar day.”
Aside from the money the community raised for her, Hines also received a grant from the government in the spring. But, she said, that money wasn’t nearly enough to supplement her loss of revenue.
“I still got bills coming in and I’m not making a dime,” she said. “I’m doing the best I can do.”
Once Facebook processes the donations, Speer plans to present Hines with the check along with a wooden American flag from Valor Exteriors, which made a “pretty sizable donation,” he said.
This post was updated at 1:40 p.m. Dec. 11 to reflect a change in donations to Tammy’s Diner.