Help Shoals Ride the Storm

#SmallBusinessRelief
Walking down the street today (March 27, 2020), several businesses in Deep Ellum have boarded windows and shut down indefinitely due to restrictions placed on bars and restaurants to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

Omar YeeFoon, owner of the bar and restaurant Shoals Sound & Service, is reluctantly forced to take this option as well. He has been trying desperately to reimagine his inclusive Latin American menu into a take out and delivery concept to keep up some kind of employment for his staff and himself until bans on service are lifted. In the present climate of COVID-19, roadblocks have been aplenty. The revenues would not cover payroll, much less keeping product, paying rent, utilities, etc. He must now look to as many sources as possible to put dents in the 35K worth of expenses Shoals creates a month.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic led to uncertain times, Shoals was cited as a “soulful hideaway” serving some of the best cocktails in Dallas, according to the Dallas Observer. It was dubbed Best New Bar 2017 and Best Classic Cocktail Bar 2018 in both D Magazine and Dallas Observer as well as CultureMap Dallas' Bar of the Year in 2019. Whether it’s sliding in for live jazz and a bottle of rosé on a Sunday afternoon or popping by for some of the best empanadas and arepas in town before a show, Shoals has imprinted itself into the fabric of Deep Ellum.

As a well known Deep Ellum resident, musician and Dallas bartender, Omar was blessed to be able to open Shoals in his beloved Deep Ellum, where he spent his formative years. At a recent Black History Month event at Shoals, Omar spotlighted the importance of black owned business in Deep Ellum.  

"Deep Ellum history IS the black history of entertainment in Dallas."

Deep Ellum has been a cultural hub for nightlife and music dating back to 1873. It was one of the first commercial areas of Dallas where African-Americans and immigrants could congregate without police enforcing laws of racial segregation. Referred to as the “Harlem of the South,” it’s a unique enclave of Dallas where African-American musicians, artists, civil rights leaders, educators, and business owners flourished for generations. 

Now in 2020, after many years of development and displacement, much of Deep Ellum has changed. The large volume, out-of-town party bars and chains don’t reflect the rich history of the area, and most of the neighborhood property is owned by developers who are going to fare this crisis with little impact on the majority of their personal wealth. Very few business owners left in Deep Ellum are people of color and the few local bars that promote local arts and music face more trouble now than ever, having to possibly take on more debt to survive and hoping that landlords and other accounts are able to grant extensions. Many will not weather this storm. When this crisis is over, the landscape will look different without help from the community.

What’s next for Shoals right now is up in the air. Emergency reliefs funds have been applied for with no guarantee, but in the meantime we must work collectively to save Shoals. 

The most valuable way you can help keep the soul in Deep Ellum is to donate whatever you can, to our campaign to save Shoals Sound & Service. Huge thanks to GoFundMe, Yelp and Intuit QuickBooks, who have pledged the #SmallBusinessRelief  Fund to match contributions on this platform.  Please share it across your networks and ask your friends, your auntie, and your boss to donate as well. 

Donations

  • Todd Palisi 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • David Smith 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Sonhui Gray 
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
See all

Organizer

Omar Yeefoon 
Organizer
Dallas, TX
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