SANFORD, Fla. – We’re wrapping up a second year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some local businesses, like the restaurant Shantell’s Just Until, are still feeling the effects, struggling to stay float.
The business owner is using a unique raffle to raise money so that she can help keep the doors open.
“I’ve been cooking all my life. I birthed 10 children, so you can imagine how much I’ve had to cook. Before that I’ve been cooking since I was 8 years old,” Shantell Williams said.
Williams said she has seen success as the restaurant owner of Shantell’s Just Until, located in downtown Sanford for nearly a decade. But with the pandemic and rising food costs, she said lately it’s been a struggle.
“We’re coming up on tough times where you have to decide, ‘Do we close, do we stay open,” Williams said. “Monday-Thursday is when these seats are empty and if we intend to be here, we have to fill the seats. That’s the realness of it, to pay the bills and keep employment.”
But she’s not giving up.
“It’s been a little bit of a test, but I think I’m here for the long haul. I ain’t going nowhere quick. You’ll have to drag me out kicking and screaming,” Williams said.
She is working to help make ends meet by raffling off one of her prized possessions: A 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide motorcycle.
Last year, Williams rode the motorcycle through 48 states in less than a month.
“It was very therapeutic. It gets you through the hard times,” Williams said. “I named the bike ‘Mister’ and I told my husband he’s not allowed to make me choose.”
She’s now making a difficult choice, one she said is necessary to save her business and the livelihood of her employees: Raffling off her motorcycle for $25 a ticket.
“That’s her baby. I can’t believe she’s doing this. I went into shock when I heard she was raffling off her motorcycle. That’s a big deal,” said Althea Wallace, who works at Shantell’s.
“Giving it up I consider my restaurant being number 11 to my children. My bike is material. In order to save my restaurant, it feeds a lot more people, it feeds their soul,” Williams said.
Williams and her employees said they are thankful for the customers who visit the restaurant and are hopeful more will come.
“Soul food is that food, it can be Italian, Chinese, Jamaican. Soul food is the food cooked with love that feeds your soul,” Williams said.
Shantell Williams appeared on the Florida Foodie podcast. You can find her episode in the media player below:
Shantell’s has given back, providing free meals to first responders early on in the pandemic, now she’s asking for the community’s help to keep her restaurant open by purchasing raffle tickets. You can purchase tickets at the restaurant located at 503 Sanford Ave. in downtown Sanford or reserve a raffle ticket by sending $25 to $WinShantellsHarley through Cash App.
Williams said she is extending the deadline for ticket purchase to help raise more money for her restaurant.
Shantell will be picking the winner of the Harley in March.