Last year, when the world stopped due to Covid19, there was uncertainty for everyone. Would businesses survive and continue to provide employment? What do you do when, after decades in operation, you are forced to close the doors to your business due to a global pandemic? The answer is, everything you can to keep moving forward.

That’s precisely what Bon Appétit’s Restaurant’s co-founder, Peter Kreuziger did. After hearing about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on the news and what it meant for assisting businesses through the pandemic, he reached out to his longtime bank representatives for assistance.

Unfortunately, and much to his surprise, Mr. Kreuziger was told his bank would not help him. Imagine the shock, after doing business with the same national bank for over 40 years, to be offered no assistance at all. To be told, there is nothing we can do for you. Dreadful, but like a true leader, Mr. Kreuziger did not stop there, but he did change his strategy.

Instead of going to another national bank, he reached out to a local financial institution, founded right here in the Tampa Bay region. You may have heard of it, Achieva Credit Union.

Interestingly enough, Achieva Credit Union, originally named Pinellas County Teachers Credit Union, was founded because seven Pinellas County school teachers were denied a loan back in 1937, an experience many can relate to, but that is what makes Achieva Credit Union different.

Unlike a bank, credit unions are not-for-profit and owned by the members they serve, which means they are founded under an entirely different philosophy than banks, focusing on the community they serve.

Bon Appétit Group, which operates Bon Appétit Restaurant, Cafe Alfresco, Romantic Honeymoon Island in Dunedin, FL and Weddings on Sand Key Beach in Clearwater, FL and employs over 200 people, can attest to the difference! You can see just how much the experience meant to Peter Kreuziger as he shared his story with ABC Action News’ Robert Boyd back in March.

One call into Achieva and Bon Appétit Group was treated as if they had always been members. “Just like that,” Achieva’s representatives were willing to go the extra mile to help Bon Appétit Group secure the PPP loan. Receiving the money, as Peter describes was, “heaven-sent,” and to show Achieva his appreciation, Bon Appétit Restaurant in Dunedin renamed their most popular salad after the credit union, now the Achieva 1942 Salad!

Achieva 1942 Salad

Swiss Cheese, Ham, Genoa Salami & Mixed Greens served with Garlic Burgundy Vinaigrette

This story is really about the importance of supporting your local community and economy. When we think of supporting local, we usually think of customers choosing small businesses instead of the national brands. It’s just as important for local businesses to support other local businesses.

When local and small businesses thrive, it makes a difference to a lot of people. In our case, keeping the waterfront restaurant open meant the most to our employees, and of course, to our guests who have grown to be more like family. Recently, stories were shared on a Fox 13’s What’s Right with Tampa segment by Kelly Ring (see below), illustrating the total impact the PPP loan had on Bon Appétit Group’s employees and guests.

Thanks to Achieva, Bon Appétit Restaurant was able to welcome guests once again and re-instate their 200 employees. And thanks to two local companies working together, this October, Bon Appétit Group will be celebrating a special milestone, 45 years in operation!