Small Eugene Businesses Strive to Serve All During the Pandemic

We are living in interesting times. The U.S. has reached over one million confirmed cases of COVID-19. In a recent survey from Main Street America, over 30 percent of small business owners reported that their businesses will be at risk of permanent closure within the next two months if disruptions caused by COVID-19 continue at the current rate.

And yet, where they can, things carry on. Small businesses in Eugene and Springfield continue pushing through these difficult times and serving their communities.

Carte Blanche Caterers, which evolved from a food cart on the University of Oregon campus and is now a full-service, off-premise catering company, has been a client of Talk of the Town for over a decade. Chef and owner Mark Stern was also the force behind Soup Nation, a downtown hotspot that was featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives before Mark closed it to focus his culinary prowess on Carte Blanche Caterers.

A Chef on the Carte Blanche Team preparing a meal.

“Carte Blanche and Talk of the Town have been in business for a good 11 years,” says Sally Johnson-Santamouro, owner and publisher of Talk of the Town, which is heading into its 14th year.

When Sally recently felt under the weather for several days (she has since recovered), Carte Blanche was there for her through its no-contact delivery services. With most weddings, company picnics and other social gatherings currently put on hold, Carte Blanche Caterers has been offering gourmet boxed dinners that can be ordered via phone or email. These services are a boon for those who have a taste for high-quality food but are hesitant or unable to leave their homes during the pandemic.

Because of the positive, long-lasting working relationship between their two businesses, Mark made it a point to deliver Sally’s meals himself—from a socially safe distance, of course. 

“It goes down to that personal relationship you have with your clients,” says Sally. “We all need money, of course, but none of it would be fulfilling without those personal relationships we have with each and every client of ours. Just like the small businesses we help represent, at Talk of the Town we’re not stopping. We will continue to market all of our clients through this difficult time.”

Carte Blanche Caterers,, 541-554-9088

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