Here’s how Leva Bonaparte kept her restaurant open amid the pandemic

Like many business owners, Southern Charm‘s Leva Bonaparte was ill-equipped to deal with the devastating effects that the COVID-19 pandemic had on her business. But, again, like many business owners, she simply had no other choice but to pull herself up by the bootstraps and get to work in an effort to save her business. 

In November 2020, Leva spoke candidly on an episode of Bravo’s The Daily Dish podcast about the struggles she faced as a restaurateur, owning multiple establishments throughout Charleston including Republic and Bourbon N’ Bubbles. “We were all massacred in this city,” Leva explained. “[Charleston] is a hospitality city, so it was like death was in the air. It’s still like that in the city — so many things are shut down, we’re so lucky that we were able to sort of ride the wave.”

Thankfully, she and her husband and business partner, Lamar Bonaparte, quickly devised a plan of action and got to work. “Lamar and I were really aggressive as soon as things happened. It was like: furloughed everyone that we could, shut everything down, went to skeleton staff, you know, kind of shrewd about it, but that’s what allowed us to survive,” the entrepreneur-turned-reality star confessed.

Leva Bonaparte said it was 'terrifying' making business decisions amidst a global pandemic

But that’s not to say those “shrewd” business tactics came without a price. “It was terrifying. It was scary; it was stressful,” Leva Bonaparte revealed to The Daily Dish podcast. “The day that I knew we had to furlough… over a hundred employees, I physically… felt like my body was broken down. So, it was tough. Our staff is like family… it was like being in a black hole, like, when’s the end? Is there an end in sight? What do we do? So, it was a very hard year, to say the least.”

The Southern Charmer also dished on what her businesses look like currently. “At this point we’re only open till 11 p.m., so we are not thriving. But we’re surviving well, and… the biggest thing for us is just sanitization and making sure that we’re respecting the guidelines so that we don’t have an outbreak, which luckily we haven’t,” she explained. “So we are able to continue doing business in a super sanitary, science-respecting environment, so to speak.’

She wrapped by saying, “Things are coming back, we’re doing OK, we’re doing good. But it’s not where we want to be.” We wish Leva the best of luck during these difficult times!

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