MILWAUKEE — More than a year after opening on the East Side in Milwaukee, the Baccanera Enoteca and Winebar is closing for good on Christmas Eve. The owner, Taylor Layton, says just to make ends meet had become a struggle, which led him to make the difficult decision.
"We are the backbone of neighborhoods and I think the neighborhoods miss us the most, and really, they are the ones that are suffering when small businesses leave," said Layton.
It’s a situation Layton never thought he’d be in. Packing up and closing his wine bar, just a little over a year after it opened.
"A year later, we couldn’t even imagine that we would be in a pandemic," said Layton.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was an uphill battle to come up with ways to keep his business afloat and his employees paid.
"We pivoted all of our business to online and that helped a little bit initially; however, we weren’t set up for online. We were able to do a little bit of business that way but nothing close to what we did previously in person, so that really hurt us," said Layton.
This prompted him to apply for funding through the paycheck protection program where he received $11,000. An amount he thought would help his employees and save his business.
"Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough, and most of them ended up going on unemployment after that," said Layton.
Ultimately, it put Layton in a position to make a tough choice.
"In the end, we made the decision that because of the uncertainty, it didn’t make sense for us to take on an increase loan especially when we didn’t know if you were going to have customers coming into the space," said Layton.
While the decision to close Baccanera Enoteca didn’t come easy, Layton says he hopes his story will let people know that your journey doesn’t have to end just because your business does.
"I hope that by sharing this with everyone they can see that you can close, you can start a new chapter in your life, but try to be positive. No matter what you’re doing the sun will always rise tomorrow," said Layton.