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Al's Breakfast, Grand Ole Creamery ask for help staying afloat during pandemic, shutdown

Al's Breakfast and the Grand Ole Creamery are seeking help fro patrons to stay in business.

Two Twin Cities institutions are raising money to get them through another COVID-related closure. 

Al's Breakfast in Minneapolis and the Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul both say they've lost about 75% of their business due to the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns. 

Now they're turning to their loyal customers for help to stay in business through the winter. 

Student favorite Al's Breakfast, which has been operating under its current name since the 1960s, has launched a giving campaign through its website with a goal of raising $75,000. So far, it has raised nearly $20,000. 

"This has been the most challenging year that Al’s has ever had to endure. But hopefully, there is light at the end of a long tunnel," Al's website says. "The news of promising progress in many areas of this pandemic is giving us a path to the other side. It’s no surprise that our business has been off by a lot."

What's been even harder for Al's is not seeing its patrons sitting at the counter, the website notes. 

"It has really made me think a lot about the community at Al’s, and how much we have all come to know one another," the website says. "... Al’s is so much more than a restaurant. It’s a tradition that has been carefully passed to your friends and families, and I cherish that more than anything."

The restaurant says it's a challenge to keep things going, so it's requesting that people put Al's on their Christmas list, as they'll happily accept donations.

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Anyone who donates will receive a code that will allow you to download an Al's soundtrack. Meanwhile, anyone who donates $500 or more will have a tile with their name on it mounted on the wall at Al's. Ben Krikava, Al's potter who makes all the mugs and pottery, will make the tiles. 

"We would like to recognize the people who make the extra effort to help us through this pandemic in a permanent way in our space," the website says. 

Meanwhile, the top 15 donors before Christmas will get an Al's Breakfast themed drawing from Bud Wudlick, a local art teacher and artist who used to draw while waiting for his food at Al's. 

Anyone interested in donating can do so on Al's website here or by mailing a check or cash via USPS to 413 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414.

Grand Ole Creamery

The Grand Ole Creamery, which has been serving its homemade ice cream and hand-rolled waffle cones since 1984, is seeking to raise $150,000 via a Go Fund Me page so it can "continue providing memories" and jobs for long-term staff. 

The shop says Gov. Tim Walz's most recent executive order that extends the ban on indoor service at restaurants, they're "faced with a critical financial challenge," noting they've been "denied multiple times for city and state COVID crisis aid."

"The Grand Ole Creamery has taken out hundreds of thousands $$$ in business loans just to stay afloat during this time, all of which must be paid back with significant interest," the Go Fund Me page says. "If you can provide anything to help keep our doors open, lights on, and chefs making delicious ice cream, please consider making a contribution."

The Go Fund Me was created on Thursday and has raised more than $3,000. You can donate here

Both Al's and the Grand Ole Creamery said if they raise more money than they need, they'll use that money to help the community by providing meals to healthcare workers and help the homeless.

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