Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor Nominated for Economic Courage Award
Economic courage could be defined as a leader, a business, nonprofit and or organization that, while facing economic uncertainty and a radical retraction of “business as usual,” took extraordinary steps to provide a service, a product, and or a support service that made a positive impact to the community and or employees of their organization. These are individuals that took economic risks to continue to provide a service, product and or resource in the face of unprecedented economic uncertainty. Showing the ability to adapt, change and thrive during a time of uncertainty. The Thurston EDC awarded Economic Courage Awards at the Hootenanny on Thursday, July 22. Learn more here: https://thurstonedc.com/hootenanny/.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor showed Economic Courage and they have been nominated for an Economic Courage Award.
We asked Dirty Dave’s Marketing Director, Stephanie Hemphill to answer some questions about the past year and how the business took extraordinary steps to impact our community positively. Her answers are below.
Thurston EDC: What was your biggest challenge in 2020, and how did you solve it?
Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor: Adapting to the ever-changing rules. It was really hard for businesses to know what to do. The Governor would come out with new guidelines in a press conference and then say that the new rules were starting tomorrow or in 2 days. That didn’t leave us a lot of time to figure out how to navigate what was just put in front of us. Our staff was flexible, and we are very thankful for that. I don’t think I can say that we had a way to overcome this challenge. We just had to stay in communication with our team and our customers. Communication really was and continues to be extremely important.
Thurston EDC: What was the biggest change COVID caused in your business/organization?
Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor: Staffing! We are still challenged by the fact that we have open positions that we cannot fill. We are only open 6 days a week, and we are operating with a smaller menu because we just don’t have the staff to be at full capacity.
Thurston EDC: Will these changes be permanent, or will you go back to the way things were before?
Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor: We hope things will go back to the way they were before, but this isn’t over yet. We know we’re not completely in the clear, we know that we are still experiencing challenges. We are just so thankful to have remained open and to have weathered this storm so far.
Thurston EDC: What have you learned during the last year as it relates to your business/organization?
Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor: Next year is our 50th anniversary, and we have made more changes to our business in the last year and a half than in the first 48 years we were open. There are things we will never change, but we also learned that we can change and still produce the great food that people love from our restaurant. That the answer “this is the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t mean that’s the way we need to continue to do it. Also, we found ourselves going back to our roots and really examining why my Grandpa started this business, what does Dirty Dave’s mean for the community, and how do we want to occur for the next 50 years. It has been a very unique and impactful experience.
Thurston EDC: Please share a story or words of wisdom from your experience over the last year.
Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor: I can’t tell you how long I stared at this question before typing an answer. It has been a challenge and continues to be a challenge. We are a family-owned and operated business, and we have never seen anything like this. We had family meetings, early morning phone calls, late-night text threads, we put out fires, played clean-up, split up staff communications, had strategic messaging meetings about what to and what not to put on social media, we closed for 2 weeks twice, we had a staff member test positive for COVID, we’ve had customers protesting the Governor’s mandates, we lost customers, we gained customers, and this is all on top of our normal hustle and bustle. My words of wisdom would be that kindness, above all else, is extremely important. Our staff, and anyone in customer service really, deserves a gold medal. They were, for lack of better words, on the front line, and there were tough moments, fun moments, and everything in between. Like I said before, we couldn’t be more thankful for them. They truly are rock stars.
Learn more about Dirty Dave’s here: https://www.dirtydavespizza.com/.