November 25, 2020
One of Philadelphia's most treasured soft pretzel spots is turning to the community for help weathering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Center City Pretzel Co. has been on Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia for 40 years, a second generation business that has supplied the doughy staple as a failsafe recommendation for foodies in the city.
The owners launched a GoFundMe campaign this month revealing that the pandemic has "almost destroyed" their business.
"Our business is down 80% from the lack of schools, vendors who have no one to vend to and corporate buildings being empty," the owners wrote. "Yet our raw material costs keep going up. This means we are struggling to meet our customers needs."
As restaurants and caterers across the city struggle under the weight of pandemic restrictions and changing consumer habits, some of Philadelphia's most iconic brands have either folded or shut down temporarily in hopes of a later return, including South Philly's John's Roast Pork.
And while the city has provided grants and loans to small businesses with CARES Act funding, the loss of business continues to compound in the absence of additional federal support and targeted aid for the restaurant industry.
Much like Reading Terminal Market, Center City Pretzel Co. turned to GoFundMe with a goal of $10,000. That number was already surpassed by Friday afternoon, but the campaign remains open for donations.
"Any and all donations are greatly appreciated and extremely humbling as we've never asked for help in 40 years," the owners wrote. "We find ourselves in difficult and uncharted territory. As a second generation baker, this is all we do, what we love. This is our Philly legacy."