Awards banquets, fundraisers, meetings, annual dinners -- all canceled.

The calls started coming in Wednesday evening.


Awards banquets, fundraisers, meetings, annual dinners -- all canceled.


Santangelo Catering specializes in large events, typically with more than 150 guests.


The company has lost about $27,000 in business over the last few days, owner Tim Reinhart said, as the spread of the new coronavirus has led to canceled or postponed events countywide.


"I’m totally in the woods," said owner Tim Reinhart Friday, rattling off a list of event cancellations over the next month.


On Friday morning, Reinhart and his wife blanched and froze raw vegetables intended for platters -- they’ll be used in recipes later -- and froze fresh steaks meant for diners this weekend.


The catering business was heading back into busy season following the typical winter slump. Now, the only things on the calendar are a few weddings and baby showers, Reinhart said.


"It’s bad."


Santangelo employs about six people. Reinhart will have to layoff most of them for now.


"We do big business and we don’t have any business. And I have big bills," he said.


Delivery, carry out


Gov. Mike DeWine has prohibited mass gatherings of more than 100 people. That order excluded restaurants, but it hasn’t stopped diners from heading medical experts advice about avoiding public spaces.


It’s too soon to tell how that’s going to impact the delivery business, said John Pyrka, owner of Angello’s 2 Go in Canton.


The restaurant is primarily delivery and carryout as well as catering. While catering has dropped off in recent days, Pyrka is hopeful that delivery orders will stay strong.


"We appreciate everybody sticking by our side," he said.


Lunch Friday was slower than normal at Thatsa Wrapp.


The business, with locations in Canton and North Canton, also offers carryout -- the North Canton location exclusively so -- something owner Jeff Wagner hopes helps offset diners wary of eating in.



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"I’m hoping and kind of banking on carryout business," he said.


Other downtown Canton restaurants are feeling the sting of canceled events and emptier offices.


Bender’s Tavern saw a 50 percent drop in business in recent days "because people are nervous about going out to dinner," owner Jon Jacob said.


In response, the downtown Canton restaurant is encouraging diners to order carryout, and has introduced free delivery (with a minimum $50 order) for diners within 10 miles.


Bender’s has avoided typical delivery services.


"Our quality of food is not something we’ll hand off to just anybody to deliver," Jacob said.


The in-house delivery service will be staffed by servers who rely on tips. Without diners, servers are hurting, Jacob said.


"We’re trying to do everything we possibly can to make this easy for our employees and our customers," Jacob said.


Details about the delivery service, and a suggestion of meals that will travel well, are posted on Bender’s Facebook page at facebook.com/benders.tavern.


Hazel and Rye Artisan Baking Company, also in downtown Canton, also is considering introducing delivery.


Business was normal Friday, but owner Emily Welk knows that will change.


"I expect starting next week, we’re going to see a huge drop," she said.


The business is looking into offering curbside pick-up and delivery temporarily.


"I want to keep my staff safe and I want to keep everybody else safe," she said. "I completely understand everybody’s worries right now."


The restaurant has implemented new safety protocols, including a switch to prepackaged plastic silverware and it’s no longer filling travel mugs.


Welk is confident they can ride out the storm.


"All small businesses, no matter if its a restaurant or a shop, are going to take a hit. No matter what," she said.


"But I think as long as everyone just stays cautious and understanding of everything that’s going on, the businesses that were here before this all started are going to still be here when this all ends."


Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or jessica.holbrook@cantonrep.com


On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.