A GoFundMe has been created by a loyal customer at Little Tex Bistro in Vernon, with the hopes of raising $25,000 to keep the business afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The page was created Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (Morning Star file photo)

COVID-19: Fundraiser launched to keep Okanagan restaurant afloat

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Little Tex Restaurant with a goal of $25,000

An online fundraiser has been set up for a Vernon restaurant that’s struggling to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michelle Stewart, who describes her self as a loyal customer to Little Tex Restaurant, started a GoFundMe page for the Vernon restaurant Wednesday night, July 8 with the hopes of helping its owners, Tracy and Shamis Burrell, keep the family business going.

“I was disheartened to hear of this family’s story regarding their struggle to keep their family business alive,” Stewart said in a description on the GoFundMe page. “The Burrells have exhausted every option for financial support, but due to COVID-19 circumstances they have repeatedly fallen through the cracks of this post Covid system.”

The Burrells purchased the tex-mex restaurant in 2018, revitalizing a business that had been established in 1995.

Success among locally owned businesses is often hard-won, and Little Tex has already weathered challenges well before the pandemic. In July 2018 a road closure severely affected the business, according to Stewart.

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“They have been recovering ever since,” Stewart added. “In the two years of owning Little Tex they made a modest living, and thanks to their loyal customers they stayed afloat.”

According to Stewart, the business was gaining momentum shortly before the pandemic hit.

“Then Covid-19 created a new set of circumstances. Due to their ongoing struggle to recover losses since 2018, the financing they applied for to stay open was denied and previously planned financing options were put on hold.”

Stewart said the Burrells decided to close the doors of Little Tex temporarily on March 15 and hoped to reopen in July.

“The Burrells’ only income was the restaurant. After spending the past 3.5 months waiting for financing to reopen Little Tex, they have used up their last resources to keep afloat for themselves and their family.”

With the family’s mortgage coming up later this month, Stewart is concerned the business will have to forclose.

“Not only will the Burrells and their two teenage sons be losing their home, their daughters young family with a granddaughter living in the basement suite will be impacted. There is also a family with a baby on the way in their rental suite.

The GoFundMe page has a goal of raising $25,000 for Little Tex. Funds raised will help the restaurant cover reopening costs such as advertisement, re-licencing and staffing, or with purchasing appliances essential to the business.

The GoFundMe has raised $200 as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

There are other ways people can help that have been listed on the GoFundMe page. The list includes writing a message of support on the Little Tex Facebook page, or getting in touch with the family through Facebook about investment options.

The only thing this family needs is to stay together and continue to build their life and future together,” Stewart said. “Little Tex was their purpose. They miss their customers and ability to provide a worthy service the community.”

READ MORE: B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Gotham Nightclub set to reopen Friday


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

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