BY VINCE REMBULAT
Business for Elias Nino was fine and dandy prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had just hit our one-year milestone then this happened,” he recently said at his Papa Nino’s Pizza located at 1231 E. Louise Ave. in Manteca.
Part of the reason for that was outside of online delivery services such as Grubhub and Doordash, Papa Nino’s didn’t offer in-house food services.
“Most of our business (pre-coronavirus pandemic) was from the Del Webb community,” Nino said of the local active adult community for those age 55 and older.
For that, he had to adapt to the situation by bringing on board two people, for now, to make deliveries, specifically, to adults age 65 and older in Manteca.
Nino, who along with his wife Krystale opened the business at the corner of East Louise and Cottage Avenue in February 2019, is also looking to help Manteca area students who are currently home due to the recent school closures with a pay-with-grace program.
Papa Nino’s is rewarding local students based on their current report card grades in core curriculum – three As or better can fetch a free personal pizza while the offering for three Bs in English, Math and Science is a free pizza slice and, for three Cs, cheesy bread. Students are required to bring their report cards as proof.
Nino and other local small businesses are concerned with worse-case scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not too long ago, he had trouble just buying flour and other items for his business at a Stockton retailer given the recent shortage of food supplies.
“We’re all in this together,” said Nino, who is hoping for better times ahead.