Sherry Andrus expected a challenge when she bought a historic restaurant in 2018, but the first-time restaurateur had no idea she would have to overcome a burglary, pandemic, and raging wildfires that reached within a half-mile of her business. Despite these challenges, she has persisted and is determined to return the landmark Cazadero Steakhouse in Estacada, Oregon, to its former glory.
Running a restaurant is a tough business even in normal times, and Andrus has not known normal times. In 2019, a burglary cost her $13,000. Then, COVID-19 shut down the restaurant for much of last year. In September 2020, wildfires threatened the town and Andrus selflessly turned the Cazadero parking lot into a staging area for first responders and locals fighting to save their hometown. They succeeded in stopping the fire, but the combined losses left Andrus without the money to pay her rent, vendors and staff. The local landmark was in danger of closing for good.
“I was beyond impressed with how KeyBank grabbed the bull by the horns.” – Sherry Andrus, owner, Cazadero Steakhouse
Like many small business owners, Andrus turned to the federal Paycheck Protection Program for a loan. In her case, she simply had to cross the street to the local KeyBank branch, where she had a business account.
Her local banker led her through the process, advising her on what information to collect for the application and how to complete it.
“They were incredibly helpful,” Andrus said. “They kept me informed every step of the way, what to expect and when things would happen. They were totally on my side.”
Though hers was a small account, Andrus said KeyBank made her applications a priority. “It meant so much to have them in my corner. I never would have survived without their help,” she said.
The Cazadero received the first and second draw PPP loans they were eligible for through KeyBank. The restaurant remains open at the state-mandated one-quarter capacity, with Andrus optimistic the restrictions will lift as the pandemic eases. With the help of a loyal clientele, she is confident that the Cazadero will thrive and remain a local landmark.
Despite all these challenges, Andrus is looking ahead and plans to add outdoor seating this summer.
“Success is the best revenge,” she said, “and I intend to be successful.”