Up next: McNulty And Foley Express (Nashua, NH)
McNulty & Foley Caterers, Inc. is one of the longest running businesses in Nashua, NH. Catering all events since 1948, this establishment even accommodated and served a number of United States Presidents.
No matter if my business is chosen, thank you so much for thinking of us small businesses. Each one of us had a dream at one time to own our own business or decided to continue the family business. As you said in the video, to no fault of our own are we struggling. My son called me from South Carolina telling me about your generosity and I could be blessed and get some help from Barstool Sports. Both of my kids are big fans and my daughter showed me the video. I just cried. To see the kind of care and concern and voice the small business’s feelings and fear about the lack of government aid, it gave me hope in humanity, that there still are good people out there.
My name is Kristen Dion-Baker. I am the sole owner of McNulty & Foley Express & Caterers, Inc, located in Nashua, NH. The business has been in our family for 49 years; my parents bought it in 1971. My mom ran it until 1998 and I took over. My mom, Barbara is now 79 years old, and she was still working with me until this pandemic. I had to lay her off because of her high risk. My sister Laurie joined me 8 years ago, my daughter Emily has worked for me since she was 14 and she is now 22. This business is a part of who my family is at the core.
The first week of this Covid 19, my phone was ringing off the hook, but it was all cancellations of weddings, funerals, outings. In the first week, I had over $100,000 of cancellations. I am just a small business, not huge, but with a huge heart.
My sister and I had no time to think about what to do, the business model had to change immediately. Catering is no longer an option. Our business is in large groups. Voted Best Caterer multiple times did not matter, reputation did not matter, advertising did not matter, it was out of our hands. We immediately opened for takeout of Heat & Eat meals 4 days a week. It went well. Worked harder than I ever had under the unknown and an imperfect set up. The people came and were so kind and appreciative that they could have homecooked meals, that were hearty and delicious.
We cooked meals for the Nashua Fire Stations, as they could not go to the grocery stores. We brought meals to hospital workers at their testing sites. We got a call from the Merrimack School District in an emergent situation. A cafeteria staff member got Covid 19 and they had to close the cafe down, but still needed to provide the 350 students with lunches daily. I think everyone knows that the school’s budget is next to nothing, but we could not leave those kids that were in need, without food. So, we ordered the product and started making lunches two days later. We called in our older sister Cathy, whom is a teacher, due to her school being shut down, we were fortunate to have her help and we worked tirelessly for 15 days to make sure these kiddos did not go without. We have given back to the community, even when we truly needed help. It is who I am.
McNulty & Foley has been in business for 74 years in March. We have catered for many Presidents of the United States. President Carter, Reagan, Clinton, George Bush, George W Bush. A complete honor. So many memories, my 2 sister’s and I both got married in the Function hall that we had until my mom sold it in 1998, that is when I bought a building and changed over to off-site catering. This has been in my life since I was 3 years old and I am going to be 53 next month.
Business for takeout slowed down drastically in the summer, so we went to 2 days a week and that is where we are at today. We have had to reduce hours and collect partial unemployment. People do not have money. We want to open for more, but it would lose more money, just sitting around. We cooked for over 600 people for Thanksgiving and slated to do 400 for Christmas. These numbers sound great, but it is much different than catering. Much more labor intensive, now we must have a million TO GO containers that those companies are gouging us on, more costs, utilities, labor, and it continues.
Without the revenues from Catering and having only take out, which is unpredictable, I see funds dwindling fast and I just do not know if I can sustain. I lost my marriage two years ago because I was always working, had to move from a huge house on a golf course to a small condo with No doggy door, then the pandemic hit, and my world has been one fear after another.
My son moved down to Hilton Head South Carolina to go to a Professional Golf School, he wanted to go on tour. Well, he completed his first year at $24,000, of which I had to get a Parent Plus Loan for and then they were shut down due to the virus. They resumed, but by email, not virtual, by email. There was no way I could pay another $24,000 to finish the school by email, now that my income is unstable to boot. I thought I would be able to pay that monthly bill, but not now that this pandemic has hurt us financially so much. Ugg, it just seems to have affected everything. A perfect shit storm.
One of the longest standing businesses in Nashua, NH and the Governor has not even mentioned caterers. We are the hardest hit, cannot have functions. I feel for every restaurant, I do not diminish their pain, financially and/or otherwise, but Caterers have been swept under the rug. We did get the initial PPP, however, for two weeks for payroll and mortgage, we were grateful and kept everyone on payroll. This was NOT supposed to be a taxable event, but now it is, and I was just delivered that blow by the accountant. Now I will have to pay thousands to the IRS because of it. It just does not end.
I do not want to give up and I will keep trying to be creative to stay afloat, but the realistic side of me must be prepared to lose everything. Any help at all would be so much appreciated, in fact, I do not even have words for it. I also understand if you choose someone else.
Thank you, Dave and your team, for caring about food business and the small businesses, you should be the President of the United States. Stay safe and Happy Holidays, you will change lives by your generosity. If you would like to check my company out and see who I am, please go to: www.mcnultycatering.com
Sincerely, Kristen Dion-Baker