CalAsian Chamber Helps Popular Sacramento Cafe Pivot During Pandemic

September 12, 20224 Minutes

Business: Magpie Café
Owner: Janel Inouye
Location: Sacramento, CA

Magpie Café originally began as a small catering business in 2005 and has since grown into one of the most popular restaurants in Sacramento, California. Magpie Café’s seasonal menus offer locally sourced ingredients while maintaining an emphasis on a sustainable environment. By 2014, Magpie Café moved into 16 Powerhouse a brand-new LEED Certified building with spacious capacity to support the volume and customer demand that Magpie Café attracted. During this time Magpie Café continued to flourish. Milestones included collaborating with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to provide sustainable seafood and even provided lunch to the Dalai Lama in his 2016 visit to Sacramento.

However, the pandemic was especially difficult for the thriving café. As a result, Janel Inouye, co-owner of Magpie has had to make difficult decisions, pivot her business, and adapt to the new normal. During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant had to close for six weeks. Ms. Inouye and the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (CalAsian) created a plan to help Magpie Café keep its doors open. The chamber created a plan that conformed to a different business landscape. Some examples of business ideas include introducing increased outdoor seating and partnering with food delivery vendors to ensure customers received their orders of Magpie’s delicious, locally sourced food. Janel received support in applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Additionally, Magpie attended several webinars provided by the CalAsian that helped Magpie Café pivot their business to the new normal. In our “Recovery through Digital Transformation in the time of COVID-19” webinar Magpie Café received one on one consulting regarding eCommerce and email marketing. Magpie Café also participated in our “PPP Forgiveness” webinar, which also provided a one-on-one consultation about the PPP Loan Forgiveness process.

Ms. Inouye states “Since this is a moving target I have received the most up-to-date information from reliable people who have our interest in mind. I appreciate the additional support and expertise provided and look forward to attending future events.”

Throughout 2021, CalAsian continued to help Magpie Café on its journey to recovery after an incredibly tough year of change. The chamber continued to help Janel acquire funding, providing guidance and assistance through the California Relief Grant application process. With the help from the center, Janel was able to receive a $25,000 California Relief Grant to help support her business. The chamber also provided further financial planning assistance by working with Avant LTD to provide Janel with help regarding her lease agreement, managing her cash flow. The chamber also provided assistance as supply chain delays became a financial burden on her business.

The chamber continues to work with business owners like Janel to help them overcome challenges and barriers, and get them to the next stage of their growth.

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