Many, many businesses were forced into an unforeseen transformation during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Employees working from home on their computers has helped some stay afloat while others could only lock up the shop and hope for the best. Restaurant business was hard hit and some have made valiant attempts to change from sit down dining to take out or delivered meals for their patrons.
I was thinking of one such eatery and bar here in Livingston which is a century old establishment. My mind wandered visually into what that must look like… and it occurred to me that it would be meaningful to record some of the images of this historic time in our community. So, I reached out to Brian and Rheanna Menges, owners of the Second Street Bistro, the Murray Bar and Gil’s Goods. When businesses closed, they had tough decisions to make. They decided to close all but Gil’s Goods and kept only 3 or 4 employees. In a very short time they transformed and repurposed physical assets into a take out and delivery operation, created a new menu, hand painted the message on the large window front of the historic building. The sign reads,
GIL’S IS OPEN FOR TAKEOUT CALL 222-9463
Yesterday, I took my first stab at this self imposed photo project. Brian walked me through the somewhat ghostly remains of the establishment, sharing some of the stories and history of his decades long investment in his passion. As I listened intently, I realized that it was a eulogy of sorts. However, the motivation to resuscitate and rebuild his vision is alive and well! The small portion of the building that is now dedicated to Gil’s Goods Takeout is ALIVE AND WELL! The phone was ringing with orders, a quantity of chicken pot pie was being prepped, pizza dough was ready and the huge brick oven was fired the night before and readied for baking. Soon Rheanna arrived with their children and their bicycles! They played, colored and practiced making pizza like their dad!
I’m not sure where this project will lead me, but I am keenly following this visual exploration as it arises! Perhaps I will become a TAKEOUT PHOTOGRAPHER, yeah… that’s it. Just call me up and I’ll meet you anywhere to make images of what YOU are up to with your life, your family and your business as it is today during this unique time in our history.
Be safe, stay healthy and pray for the reopening of our businesses and resurrection of our economy!
Here’s my first look…
A few days later I revisited Gil’s Goods TAKE OUT to see it at it’s zenith. It was a bustling evening with lot’s of happy, joyous people picking up dinner. Joy and great food… exactly what everyone needs in these times. Another post is on it’s way!
This is awesome. Pivot to succeed. Brian is hardworking and talented ! Super proud of him.
Larry, I don’t know if you know this, but Ruth and I stared a Facebook group call, “Livingston Fights the Coronavirus”. It has over 1,000 members. I would like to have your permission to post this photo story.
The world is rightfully singing the praises for our First Responders who are caring for us during these uncertain times…but I’d also like to give a shout out to Brian and his incredible crew at Gil’s Goods. They have risen above the chaos and are bringing comfort in their amazing food and positive attitudes. They are a true Montana treasure!
WOW, brings tears to our eyes!
Here’s hoping they make it thru! Can’t wait to dine there, again, in our favorite in Livingston!
Good idea! And nice photographs. I’m glad to see it. I have a old 1904 building which houses my gallery,The Parks Reece Gallery,and Livingston Center for Art and culture which are of course closed down along with everything else. Also just finished a really nice short term rental which is sitting idle.It might be that that would be an interesting subject for you. I’d be happy to walk you through. 406-223-2740, my cell.
I like that idea. I will reach out soon. Larry