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Popular Restaurant Learns to ‘Breathe’ Again

| See & Do | July 29, 2020

One of the most consistently popular restaurants in Batesville is “Big’s,” which is located in the heart of the historic downtown district at East Main Street and Central Avenue.

Big’s has been fortunate to have survived the severe economic downturn that was caused by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and Big’s is eager to once again to serve hungry customers with dine-in or carry-out service.

“This has really been like an episode of the TV show, ‘The Twilight Zone’,” said Big’s owner Sherry Stott.  

Ms. Stott says she was stunned a few months ago when she learned that the nationwide and global spread of the COVID-19 virus would force many businesses to close as a precaution, including restaurants that could no longer serve dine-in customers.

“Honestly, it just took my breath away,” said Ms. Stott.  “When you hear something like that, your first reaction is, ‘Breathe!  Just breathe!’  You have a panic feeling come over you.”

When she began to absorb the shock, Ms. Stott said, “your instincts kick in and you go into survival mode.  I started thinking, ‘What can I do now to make it work?’ ”
Faced with government orders that prohibited her from allowing customers to dine inside the restaurant, Ms. Stott realized her sole option was to temporarily sell food on a “curbside” basis only outside the building in downtown Batesville.

While dealing with the immediate and significant slowdown in sales, she was also faced with an equally serious challenge of finding a way to keep her employees on the payroll. “They were relying on this job as their source of income,” Ms. Stott said.  “So how am I going to pull this off, and make sure my employees are taken care of?”

She had become aware that a federal program was being developed to provide emergency loans to the nation’s small businesses through local banks that were certified lenders with the Small Business Administration.

To learn more about the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program, Ms. Stott consulted her accountant, Beth Jones of Batesville, and her lending officer at Citizens Bank, Jerrod Sandefur.  “Beth and Jerrod were huge assets in helping me; I was so thankful,” she said.  Together, they began accumulating all the documentation that would be required to qualify for a PPP loan.  

“It went from there,” Ms. Stott said, “but when the ball started rolling, it was rolling at a fast pace.”  She was able to breathe a sigh of relief when her loan application was one of the first to be approved.

“It gave me peace of mind in knowing that I could pay my employees,” Ms. Stott said.  “This loan meant I could take care of them, and helped us make sure that we were ready to go when we opened again.”  

As operating restrictions were slowly eased with a goal of returning to “business as usual,” Big’s complied with all requirements and is now open again, and striving to live up to their motto:  “Great Food.  Great Service.  It's a BIG deal.”  

Big’s is located at 101 East Main Street in downtown Batesville.  Their menu and operating hours can be found on Facebook at  Carry-out orders can be phoned in to (870) 569-4986.

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Blog brought to by Citizens Bank, which works to improve the quality of life for all community residents by promoting educational opportunities, economic growth,and innovative civic partnerships.


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