What a difference a month makes: This once-busy bakery now struggles to stay afloat

What a difference a month makes: This once-busy bakery now struggles to stay afloat

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mother Bake Shop opened in Kailua on the first day of February. Business was good.

"We were doing about 80 customers a day, selling out pretty much every day. Open seven days a week," owner Kristina Swenson-Stewart said.

But the economic impact of coronavirus on the bakery and other Kailua businesses has been swift and severe.

"It was like overnight, being active, busy, to just a ghost town," owner Josh Stewart said.

The bake shop’s orders dropped to about 15 a day. Sales fell by 90%.

Eighteen employees had to be laid off.

“That was probably one of the most heartbreaking things about this whole thing,” Swenson-Stewart said.

To cut costs, the Stewarts slashed their menu in half, dropped prices and are now offering free delivery in Kailua.

“We just want to keep being able to provide Kailua and the whole island really with our pastries and our food,” Swenson-Stewart said.

There's an intercom at the door for drop-in business, but most orders are phoned in or taken online.

Victoria Duong was one of the few patrons who stopped by for food.

"It's also helping us make it feel a little more normal than usual. Being out buying food, especially locally," she said.

The Stewarts opened their bakery after three years of planning, and working hard to secure a loan and a lease.

“This is all we’ve ever wanted to do,” Stewart said.

“We have seen so much support from the moment we opened,” Swenson-Stewart added.

The couple said taking out another loan, even at low interest, would be a burden. They’re hoping what they’ve done will be enough to get them through this.

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