In a battlefield of large fast-food chains along S. Loop 288 in Denton, Army veteran David Jordan's new restaurant remains standing, but that doesn't mean that it's not a constant struggle.
"We have to fend for ourselves, we're a little guppy in a pond of sharks," Jordan said.
He launched Patriot Sandwich Company in February 2020. A month later the pandemic started and everything shut down.
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“The first year of a restaurant is always tough, it’s always hard, and to open up in the midst of a global pandemic, amongst other things, was a definite challenge," Jordan said.
He used one word to describe the past year. "H-E-double hockey sticks, to be polite."
The sandwich shop went from 10 employees to three, and it's been rough on him and his staff.
"We have good weeks and we have bad weeks," he said. "We may have one good week and then three bad weeks."
Jordan said he planned to apply for a federal grant through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund so he can add more help.
"I'm hoping with the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, I'll be able to hire some more employees so I can take some of the pressure off of my guys," he said.
Women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged owners can apply to tap into the $28.6 billion fund which is part of the American Rescue Plan Act. In three weeks, everyone is able to apply.
Jordan said he was driven to keep his store afloat because his proceeds go towards a local nonprofit he runs called We Got Your 6 which helps homeless veterans.
It's a topic that's personal to him because the 12-year Army veteran who served in Iraq was once homeless himself.
"Now I do everything I can to give back to the veteran community," Jordan said. It was six years ago that he said he was in a shelter and had planned on killing himself until a family member showed up and supported him.
"I put out a post on Facebook saying, 'Bye' to everybody, went back to the shelter gave all my away all my belongings and was walking down the street to kill myself in front of semi-truck and my cousin, who works down in Pasadena, Texas, saw my post and brought me out here to Texas and helped me get back on my feet," Jordan said.
Now, he's an entrepreneur and his unique sandwich shop reflects his passion for the military.
“Military just runs in my family, it runs in my blood, I love it," he said.
His store represents each branch of the military and along with a sandwich, his shop serves up slices of history.
Each table is a custom-made shadowbox that holds military memorabilia from people around the country. Some items are more than 100 years old.
The menu, which he created, also pays homage to the military. For example, some of his sandwiches are called Private Meatball, Fiery Napalm, and Queen of the High Seas.
His main mission now is to make his customers feel at home and offer up a unique experience. While the past year has had its hardships, he knows his business wouldn't still be standing if it wasn't for the people who choose to walk into his shop.
"I know we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community,” Jordan said.
According to U.S. Small Business Administration, the program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.
The minimum amount is $1,000.
Owners who receive money are not required to repay the funding. The only stipulation is that funds must be used by March 11,2023.