T-Bones waiting for the all-clear to open – Wicked Local Plymouth

Chess Engine

Colin Wilcox is not cutting his hair until his restaurant and bar T-Bones Road House at 22 Main St. reopens.

PLYMOUTH Colin Wilcox is not cutting his hair until his restaurant and bar T-Bones Road House at 22 Main St. reopens.

Rumors circulated last week that T-Bones had closed for good. Wilcox said thats patently false. He hasnt reopened his business yet because it wouldnt be cost effective until bars can reopen. And Gov. Baker has yet to wave the flag on Phase IV, which would allow this. That will require a treatment or vaccine, Baker has said.

Im not about rumors, Wilcox said. Im about my team and my people and making sure all the staff are OK. I dont want to put anyone in the position where theyre not OK.

He owns the building outright, he said, so he doesnt have a lot of the financial challenges some of his friends are dealing with, as they juggle rent or mortgage payments.

Wilcox stressed that businesses have an uphill battle right now and its not helpful to spread rumors that only make the situation worse.

Were all struggling, and, just because you see businesses open doesnt mean theyre thriving, he said. Were all trying to get through this year. Were in a position where its less expensive to stay closed than it is for us to open.

Wilcox explained that the profit margin in the restaurant industry is tied to the sale of drinks, not meals. The governors restrictions mean businesses like T-Bones cant serve just appetizers and drinks to customers; they can only order alcoholic drinks with an actual meal. While T-Bones is also a restaurant with a full meal menu, Wilcox noted that many of his patrons want a drink and an appetizer, not a full meal. Its just one more reason that reopening T-Bones in advance of the states Phase IV, which will allow bars to reopen, isnt cost effective. In addition, staying closed during this time also safeguards the health of his staff.

Were in a boat and we have a full tank of gas, and were kind of navigating to the shore, he said. I dont want to start the engine until we are sure we can make it to the shore. If I dont, we could run out of gas, not make it to the shore, and drown. And waiting for the government isnt reliable, because if all these bailouts dont happen, youre sunk. Like the eight-week PPP (the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program) if you use all that money, thats it. Theres not going to be more money. There will be no more chance of getting to the other side. Its a really challenging chess game.

Wilcox is staying upbeat and drawing on the strength of one of his heroes, Ernest Shackleton, who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic in the early 1900s. Known for giving his gloves to a crew member suffering from frostbite while they were all stranded in Antarctica for 465 days, Shackleton was celebrated for keeping his crew alive during harrowing periods on the explorations. He went so far as to celebrate Christmas, holidays and birthdays of crew members even in thick of adversity, with some privately wondering if theyd ever make it home.

Wilcox said his copy of Shackletons Way, from 2001 is tattered, since its required reading for every T-Bones manager. He gives all staff members gloves on Christmas as a metaphor for the culture of his business, which is always to look out for one another and to survive and thrive, no matter what the challenge.

The pandemic has been a major challenge, but Wilcox said his business will pull through better than ever.

Were going to come back and were going to be strong, he added.

And the hair will be long.

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T-Bones waiting for the all-clear to open - Wicked Local Plymouth

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