Coping with COVID: Edie’s
FAIRMONT — Dalton Martinson, owner of Edie’s restaurant, like every small business owner responded to COVID-19 by keeping an open mind when facing hardships created by the nearly year-long pandemic and has made the best out of the circumstances.
Edie’s started here in Fairmont in 1973 by Martinson’s grandparents. The grandparents owned it for 10 years, eventually leading to Ron Martinson, Dalton’s father, owning it for the next 20 years. After Dalton’s father passed away in 2003, his uncle Randy Martinson stepped in and owned it until 2015 when Dalton purchased the family business.
Prior to owning Edie’s, Dalton lived in Mankato and worked as a mechanic for four years. When Randy came to him with the opportunity to take ownership of Edie’s, Dalton accepted the offer and moved back to Fairmont. Now, Dalton is the third generation in his family to own the downtown cafe.
“It (ownership) feels really good and is a lot of pressure to try and live up to the standard of my uncle, dad, and grandma in the past,” Dalton said. “But it’s a very rewarding thing to do to keep something going that’s been around for so long.”
Through the first shutdown, Dalton offered takeout during the week and that was enough to get him by financially. The next shutdown, however, Martinson went on unemployment because takeout wasn’t sufficient enough to attempt a second time. The restaurant received federal and state grants that helped Edie’s get by.
Business dropped about 50%, according to Dalton. There was a mix of people who wouldn’t come in due to the mask mandate and then, ironically, there were others who came in specifically due to the mask mandate.
Dalton described the process as “winging it,” going with the flow of it to see what worked and didn’t work. He temporarily eliminated the restaurant’s traditional lunch menu, including its local favorite commercials, to cut some costs and was forced to cut hours so that Edie’s could get through.
“I told myself when this first started, out of everything that happens, this isn’t going to be the thing that shuts me down,” Dalton said. “I just kept positive and open-minded about it and the possibilities I needed. I kept plugging right along to make sure everything stayed up and going.”
Dalton learned during the shutdowns that he had to adapt. That you do the things that work so you keep on doing them. Things are different so you have to learn how to change with the things that are changing and you can’t just sit there and fight it.
“You can’t have the ‘it’s always worked before’ mentality,” Dalton said. “The fact that a lot of people may think we’ve been doing things this way for so long and we’re going to keep it that way. You have to learn you can’t do that when things are thrust at you the way and you have to overcome and adapt.”
He also learned that you can’t be upset or angry. That you have to stay positive with things that are changing.
Dalton personally couldn’t wait for Edie’s to reopen. He missed cooking at the grill, serving people and is glad to be open.
“I’m really glad to be open again and I hope I can remain open this time,” Dalton said. “It’s really good to be back and see the people I’m used to seeing every day.”
Dalton’s advice is to stay positive, make the best out of the situation and let it be known that this won’t last forever.
“We just want everybody to be safe and healthy that’s why we enforce masks,” Martinson said. “We’d love to see people come in, but just if they can help keep the rest of us (customers, employees and himself) safe, and we’re going to do the same for you.”
Edie’s is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a story about coping with COVID-19 whether you are a restaurant owner, small business owner, or an individual who would like to share your story, contact Sentinel Staff Writer Blake Faith via his email: email@example.com.