Local business owner starts GoFundMe to save restaurant from closing, hopes to keep family recipes alive

SALISBURY, Md. – “Once you walk through these doors, you’re a part of the family,” Chef Shy said.

Just over a year ago, Shiesha Blake aka ‘Chef Shy’ made her dream a reality by opening the doors to her very own restaurant Take Your Pick in Salisbury.

Take Your Pick allows you to do just that, take your pick at some of their many offerings that include soul food dishes to Jamaican cuisine. The menu is inspired by many family recipes and lots of love.

Yet, Chef Shy tells us her biggest challenge now is record high inflation. “The prices were up, so just imagine buying that stuff in bulk,” Chef Shy.

Those rising costs have led to less foot traffic, as Chef Shy says business has slowed down in recent months. “Did we expect to be here? No. Did we expect roller coasters? Absolutely, because that’s part of the restaurant industry. It’s just hitting me a lot harder with being a small business,” Chef Shy said.

96% of black-owned businesses are owned and operated by one person, according to the Brookings Institute. This potentially makes it harder for them to access capital depending on factors like credit.

To date, Take Your Pick has only received one business loan. “We started post COVID-19, so some of those funding opportunities we didn’t qualify for and others said we had to be in business at least a year. At that point, we hadn’t reached our year.” Chef Shy said.

“The past year I’ve been applying for every grant that I can possibly apply for.”

Now at a crossroads, Chef Shy is taking matters in her own hands by starting up a GoFundMe to save the restaurant. “We’ve had such an impact on the community already. We’re working with non-profits, helping the homeless community, homeless and troubled youth,” Chef Shy said.

You may ask, what keeps Chef Shy going? Her answer: a loving family and a drive to persevere. “I feel like Take Your Pick is definitely supposed to be here and that’s what we’re fighting to do. To stay in this community to help make it better,” Chef Shy said.

“I’m trying to create a legacy for my family. Giving my sons and my daughter a reason to push to want to be an entrepreneur. This is also for them to see if I can make it through, they can too.”

Chef Shy also tells us that she’s currently applying for grant funding.

Meanwhile the restaurant’s GoFundMe Me is already getting lots of support from the community.

If you’d like to donate, click here

Categories: Business, Local News, Maryland, Money, Open For Business