As San Antonio sinks into another unpredictable winter, pamphlets flutter on the sometimes chilly breeze, offering advice on how to stay warm and prepare for emergencies. (Cue the demonstrations of terracotta pots placed upside down over decorative candles.) It would be nice to live somewhere with a less frenzied ability to manage your power grid, but for now, a San Antonio company has …Yelp.
The trusty online neighborhood guide takes matters into your own hands. In December, he announced his $100,000 wintering fund, Deck the Halls with Yelp, which allowed San Antonians and Austinites to nominate small local businesses to receive warming grants. Those supporters ultimately voted for a fearless must-have from San Antonio and nine companies from Austin.
A press release lists some of the spikes Yelp has seen in consumer interest related to keeping buildings running in the wake of last February’s big freeze: generator services, each at 30 percent.
Red flags like these showed Yelp where its resources could “prevent setbacks,” says Yelp small business expert Emily Washcovick.
“Yelp’s Vacation Winterization Fund is one of the ways we hope to give back to local businesses essential to our communities by following [last] extreme weather conditions of the year,” she says.
Gift recipients are free to use the influx of money – $10,000 each – for any overwintering needs they may have, and hopefully just in time for the colder weather.
Comfort Cafe, San Antonio’s sole recipient (and a regular Yelp favorite), is seeing an unusual role reversal as it’s on the receiving end of support funds. All proceeds from Women-Owned Breakfast support SerenityStar, a nonprofit that fights addiction with a spiritual and family focus.
This isn’t the first time Yelp has helped out at the Comfort Cafe. In the summer of 2021, the donation-based nonprofit restaurant received $10,000 from Yelp’s $100,000 Make It Happen Day fund. These funds were used to help Comfort Cafe repair flood damage to its Bandera location, which forced the restaurant’s temporary closure.
According to Yelp, with the new funding, the folks at Comfort Cafe can’t wait to “open a new and improved location soon.”
In Austin, local businesses benefiting from the Yelp fund include:
- Donn’s Depot, a bar and music venue, which will use the money for several upgrades, including electrical, heating, plumbing and some cosmetic tweaks.
- Paws on Chicon, a pet supply store that will invest in new generators to keep operations running smoothly and raw meat fresh.
- Revival Coffee operates the extreme weather fund year-round, installing new outdoor heaters in the winter and fans in the summer.
- Mint Salon, a hairdressing collective, puts its earnings into its front facade, replaces windows and improves insulation.
Plus, businesses from Austin Aviator Pizza & Drafthouse, Crema Bakery & Cafe, Foxhole Culinary Tavern, Kismet Cafe, and Taste of Ethiopia are all making their own changes with $10,000 Yelp grants.
To learn more about these 10 companies and how they weathered the storm, visit blog.yelp.com.