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Belleville restaurant and banquet center closes citing COVID-19

Other St. Louis shops and restaurants fight to stay open

ST. LOUIS — An Illinois business is the latest to turn its signs from open to closed, permanently. 

Shrine Restaurant and Banquet Center in Belleville joined the growing list of permanent closures in the St. Louis area. 

Others are in it for the long haul, still fighting to keep their businesses open.

Chris Tini owns Sweet Be's Candy, Toys and Gifts in Des Peres.

"We are going to go on as long as we possibly can," Tini said.

When she first opened the store, nearly 19 years ago, she had a saying on the wall that said, "if it is to be, it's up to me."

Now she has her family to help keep the business afloat. 

"Our kids and our family have tried to be here every day, to just open up the store.

Chris and her daughters are usually at their store seven days a week, now it's just five days and like many small businesses they are hoping to not become a casualty of the pandemic.

"We just don't know what we don't know," Tini told 5 On Your Side, "It has been a challenge to run the business in a new way."

A challenge fellow local business owners, like Aaron Teitelbaum, are all too familiar with, "It is just an uncertain time for so many people that we constantly have to be conscious, accepting and understanding of those challenges."

Challenges like making employees feel safe coming to work and encouraging customers to adopt their new safety policies. 

"Some of our customers are very conscious of safety and others are not," Teitelbaum explains, "we have to respect both sides of that to stay in business."

Keeping his three restaurants running, Herbie's in Clayton and two Kingside Diners is Teitelbaum's absolute goal. 

"I've done it all my life, I love the business I'm in," Teitelbaum tells 5 On Your Side, "I love the life it brings me."

Chris Tini feels the same way about her Sweet Be's, "I do love it. It has been a part of our family for almost 19 years."

Both Tini and Teitelbaum are confident and hopeful to make it through the pandemic. 

Herbie's in Clayton just went through a COVID-19 scare costing the business over 20-thousand dollars in one night. Teitelbaum says the best advice for small businesses is to have a plan, "A plan of where to go get testing. How long that testing is going to take, what you are going to do, how long you are going to close for, all of that."

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