The local food and beverage industry is banding together to support the employees of Shaw’s Steakhouse, who are now unemployed after a devastating fire ripped through the historic establishment just days into the new year. Now, an Orcutt wine bar is raising a glass and a helping hand.
A large table, filled with now former Shaw’s Steakhouse employees, gathered for a celebratory cheers during a time of hardship.
“After six years of working somewhere, seeing people more than you see your family, holidays, it takes a toll,” said Brooke Lopez, a Shaw’s employee.
Like dozens of her Shaw’s colleagues, Lopez woke up on January 3rd only to find that she was out of a job.
“Just an out pour of people asking, are you ok, do you need anything? I know a bunch of other places have talked to employees and asked them if they need a job and let them know if they’re hiring,” said Lopez.
Speaking of pour, Vino Et Amicis, which means ‘wine and friends’ in Latin, is uncorking a rally of local support.
“The day that Shaw’s burnt down we got a phone call from one of the employees who is desperately looking for a job and they wanted to work here and that just kind of spoke to me that said hey there are people out there that are going to be affected by this,” said Kurt Hixenbaugh, Owner, Vino Et Amicis.
Hixenbaugh hopes other area businesses follow suit, as he donates 20% of Wednesday’s sales plus tips to help Shaw’s employees get back on their feet.
“That unemployment doesn’t kick in right away, that other job doesn’t pay right away so we want to just help them bridge that gap,” said Hixenbagh.
As local winemakers and community members filled the Orcutt bar, the industry connections were as full bodied as the wine.
“Some of them are single mothers, some of them have kids, everyone has rent coming up and things like that. It’s a tough time, especially the market is kind of saturated, the job market is kind of saturated. For some people, what little everyone can do is the best we can do,” said Kris Beverly, a winemaker from Los Alamos.
Something we can all raise a glass to, Hixenbaugh says this is the community taking care of itself. “It’s Local people taking care of other local people that are in a bad spot right now and that’s really resonated well,” he said.
The Orcutt wine bar’s owner called us Wednesday evening and says there was such a strong showing of support, Vino et Amicis decided to up their donation to 50% of proceeds, raising $1,500 total for those unemployed workers.