by Sue Ann Rybak
Food for All, a cafe and grocery at 7127 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy that specialized in food for people with multiple food allergies, closed in July.
Owner Amy Kunkle told the Local she was forced to close her store for financial reasons. The store had been plagued with financial troubles since May 2011, when Kunkle decided to run a promotion on the Groupon website.
Groupon customers could buy $30 worth of merchandise for only $15. The promotion, which ran for three months in 2011, did not set a limit on the number of customers who could participate in the deal – a mistake that resulted in a $10,000 loss. Kunkle was almost forced to close the store in January of 2012 until several customers pledged thousands of dollars in loans to keep the store from shutting its doors. But despite the efforts of area residents and loyal customers, the store closed two weeks ago.
“We just were not making it,” said Kunkle, 37, who lives in Mt. Airy. “I stuck it out as long as I possibly could.”
Kunkle, who has three children with food allergies, said customers didn’t have to feel uncomfortable about their food allergies when shopping or ordering something from their menu.
“That was our specialty,” Kunkle said.
The kitchen was entirely peanut-free and used specific utensils and separate sinks to prevent cross-contamination.
Kunkle said it broke her heart to notify her investors.
“It was really hard for me to tell them,” said Kunkle, “I felt like I let them down. It just wasn’t working for multiple reasons.”
Looking forward, Kunkle plans to remain in the restaurant industry. She has been offered a full-time job at High Point Cafe and hopes eventually to work in its wholesale division when it opens.
“I will be bringing some of my stuff there,” said Kunkle, who is looking forward to working in the neighborhood. “I think it is going to be a very good combination.”