Thai Number 9

Running a restaurant has its challenges, but 2020 really took it to the next level. Thai Number 9 faced these challenges head-on all while keeping their customers fed and satisfied.

Thai Number 9 opened in 2018 and is a family-owned and operated authentic Thai restaurant in Grand Junction, Colorado. The dream of running a restaurant started years earlier when siblings and owners Jojo Barnes and Peter Unaboot enrolled in the GJ SBDC’s flagship-class “How to Start a Business in Western Colorado.” Since 2011, Thai Number 9 has met with multiple SBDC coaches on topics including marketing, cash flow projections, and general startup assistance.

When news broke about different state and local COVID-19 grant programs, Thai Number 9 was able to quickly apply and receive the funding they needed to keep their restaurant alive.

“The Incubator [and Grand Junction SBDC] helped us get through 2020 by guiding us with useful information and new ideas. With 2020 being so rough, they were able to provide us with [information about] forgiveness grants, whether local or through somewhere else,” said Barnes.

SBDC Consultants Jonathan Long and Laura Mercier met with the restaurant owners on multiple occasions discussing new ways to enhance the restaurant while balancing the changing and challenging health pandemic circumstances.

“They [Jonathan and Laura] have been nothing but kind, and their willingness to help is greatly appreciated,” said Barnes.

The restaurant offers this bit of advice for anyone interested in starting their own restaurant or business: “Follow your dreams and make sure you put your heart and soul into your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We have such helpful and great people in our community that are willing to guide you in the right direction!”

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