Gena Townsend Named Unsung Hero For October 2020
Our latest Central Bank of Sedalia Unsung Hero for October is Gena Townsend! Randy Kirby recently got to speak to Gena on the telephone to discuss her busy life helping the people and community of Warsaw. The audio got a little garbled, so here's a transcript of the interview.
RK: We're speaking with Gena Townsend, she runs the Nee Nee's Italian Steakhouse and Catering in Warsaw and she has been named our Central Bank of Sedalia's Unsung Hero for October. Good morning, Gena.
RK: Thanks for joining us this morning, I know you're very very busy with breakfast.
GT: Oh, well, we're not open for breakfast, but you know, between I'm getting here and getting open by eleven, it's very busy.
RK: Oh, definitely. So tell us about yourself. Are you a native of Warsaw?
GT: No, I'm not. I actually was born, well, not born, but I was raised in Pittsburg Kansas, and moved to Olathe, where i lived for almost 20 years, before moving down here ot the Warsaw area.
RK: Okay. How long has your business been open in Warsaw?
GT: We've been open a little over a year and a half.
RK: Alright, and how's business, I have to ask?
GT: Business is actually good, I can't complain at all. Even during the shutdown, the locals took really good care of us. We did things we had to do stay alive. I did some grocery sales for the public. I walked into Walmart one day and I thought, "Really? This is gone, this is all gone.." and I'm thinking, "I can still get all this through my supplier." So I contacted the health department, and they said, yeah, at this point, we can follow some rules and sell some groceries during this whole thing. And so, we did that, for the locals to deliver to the people who, you know, didn't wanna get out with what was going on. So that kept us afloat, and it's a fundraiser for our servers, because, you know, our servers are the ones who probably suffer the most because of tips. But, the locals have really stepped in and helped, so we can't complain at all.
RK: Alright, so you're doing the best you can, we appreciate that. So real briefly, how did you get into the restaurant business, and what makes you wanna serve people?
GT: Well, I had a catering company in Olathe. I love to cook. I never went to culinary school, but I just seem to have a good palate to be able to put these different flavors and recipes together. I had a very successful catering company in Olathe, when I moved here, of course, catering isn't near as big here as it was in the Kansas City area, where I was double booked all the time. So the next best thing was a restaurant. And I got the opportunity to do that, and I've learned a lot. In this year and half, I learn something every day. I like that I can provide affordable food, good food, and help the community as much as I can.
RK: That's a good motto to go by. It applies to me too, learn something new every day and apply it to your life. Now the person that nominated you said that for the past two or three weeks, you' have opened your restaurant every morning to kids who don't have wifi at home to come in and do their schoolwork. Is that true?
GT: Absolutely. Like I said, we don't open til eleven, but they can come in anytime. We have a back table back here that they can go to that's not open seating, you know, for the customers. But between eight and eleven, that's when they can come in at anytime and use our wifi, and provide breakfast or lunch, depending on what time they come in, for free for them. And they can spend as much time, you know, we just told em we don't want big groups, try to follow the safety guidelines. You know, we have two to three at a table type thing. I've got hand sanitizer for em, it's you know, everything like that. I've even got a couple of extra computers, for the students who don't have computers. And that's available for them to use, also.
RK: Well, it looks like you're going out of your way to help the young students and we appreciate that. Plus the fact that you feed them free breakfast or lunch, so that's pretty special.
GT: Well, you know, in a small town, you gotta help everybody. Everybody needs to help everybody to make everything work.
RK: That's right, and our kids are our future, so....
RK: Thank you very much Gena. Gena Townsend is our Central Bank of Sedalia Unsung Hero for October.
There you have it! Good deeds, good food, and good wifi. You can always nominate your own Central Bank of Sedalia Unsung Hero here.