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PIZZERIA ADDS DRIVERS: To serve customer base age 65+
Restaurants struggle to find ingredients

Business for Elias Nino was fine and dandy prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had just hit our one-year milestone until this happened,” he said Wednesday at his Papa Nino’s Pizza located at 1231 E. Louise Ave. in Manteca.

Part of the reason for that was outside of online delivery services such as Grubhub and Doordash, Papa Nino’s doesn’t offer in-house food services.

“Most of our businesses (pre-coronavirus pandemic) was from the Del Webb community,” Nino said of the local active adult community for those age 55 and older.

For that, he’s looking to adapt to the situation by bringing on board two people, for now, to deliver specifically to adults age 65 and older in Manteca.

It is just one way businesses in Manteca, Lathrop and Ripon are modifying operations to meet the needs — and addressing the concerns of — customers during the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data earlier in the day that reported 80 percent of coronavirus-related fatalities in the U.S. were adults in this age demographics.

Nino, who along with his wife Krystale opened the business at the corner of East Louise and Cottage Avenue on February 2019, is also looking help Manteca area students who are currently home due to the recent school closures with a pay-with-grace program.

Papa Nino’s is rewarding local students based on their current report card grades in core curriculum – three A’s or better can fetch a free personal pizza while the offering for three B’s in English, Math and Science is a free pizza slice and, for three C’s, cheesy bread. Students are required to bring their report cards as proof.

Nino and other local small businesses are concerned with worse-case scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He had trouble just buying flour and other items for his business this past weekend at a Stockton store given the recent shortage of food supplies.

“We’re all this together,” said Nino, who is hoping for better times ahead.