danny smith

Graham County Board of Supervisor Danny Smith

Pima Town Manager Sean Lewis has a favor to ask. Go get some take-out.

Hit up The Plank, El Mesquite Taqueria, Taylor Freeze or your other favorite local restaurant as often as you can, he said.

"I'm worried about the restaurant employees. A lot of these servers and dishwashers were living paycheck-to-paycheck anyway and now I don't know what they're going to do," Lewis said. "McDonald's and Burger King are going to make it, but some of these restaurant owners are struggling with what is going to cost them more, staying open or closing."

Lewis said he doesn't want people to forget that those in the restaurant business are the same people who live next door and who sponsor Little League teams and the like.

"I hope people will order more take-out. It's important to keep these places going as best as we can," Lewis said. "I know I'm personally buying lunch for our employees from these businesses."

He's also been reminding people through his personal Facebook page and the town's.

Graham County Board of Supervisor Danny Smith is beating the same drum.

Smith, who is also president of Safford's Downtown Association, started a Facebook page called "Gila Valley Take Out Stimulus Plan Group" to support independent restaurants.

He's encouraging restaurants to join the group to post specials, hours and anything else they have going on. He'd also like members of the group to invite others. 

Smith said that "when we get across this abyss I'll rename it 'Gila Valley Take Out'".

He's had a lot of success with the page so far. As of Thursday night, it had 238 likes and 242 followers.

Smith also wants people to know about a special event Friday.

The Safford Downtown Association is sponsoring "$27 on the 27th".

The association is encouraging people to spend at least $27 at a downtown business Friday. Once they've done so, they can post a photo of their receipt on the Downtown Association's Facebook page for a chance to win one of four $50 gift certificates they are giving away to downtown shops.

The boundaries of downtown include Manor House to the East,  Dairy Queen to the West.  Eighth Street to the South and  Highway 70 on the North.

Winners will be chosen Saturday.

Smith has also been sending emails with small business loan opportunities and tips on getting through the crisis.

"It's cathartic trying to feel like you're doing something," he said.

The pandemic has opened the eyes of a lot of people who just didn't fully comprehend the importance of shopping locally, Smith said. Now they know that locally-owned businesses don't have the same loan opportunities as large companies, nor can they rest easy knowing the stock market will one day rebound.

Having said that, however, Smith said the number of Small Business Development Center programs coming online has been encouraging and that's why he's been telling as many people as he can about them.

"They really need to be taken advantage of," he said.

 He's particularly excited about the Gila Valley Take Out Stimulus Group page, though.

"The Facebook page has really caught on, there seems to be a lot of energy," he said. "There's a lot of love for our restaurants and people are wanting to keep them alive."

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