Comfort Zone Restaurant and Deli

Pedro Reyes has lived and worked in New York City for most of his life. He has made a living by waiting tables at some of the more notable restaurants in Manhattan, but he had always dreamed of opening his own restaurant one day. In 2011 he felt that he was in a financial position to make his dream a reality. He began to look for location in Manhattan, but quickly realized that opening a restaurant in the city was cost prohibitive. And so the search began.

Reyes began looking in the surrounding areas of New York. He asked family and friends to keep an eye out for a location. He looked in the outer boroughs. He looked in Connecticut. He looked in New Jersey. Nothing seemed to work out financially. In early 2012, a colleague of Reyes’, Tony Mullen, was visiting relatives in Northeastern Pennsylvania and told Reyes about the opportunities in Northeastern Pennsylvania, more specifically the Wyoming Valley. People were nice, they appreciated good food and the real estate prices were much more affordable than New York City and the surrounding areas. Reyes and Mullen decided to partner and open a restaurant in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

After a great deal of searching they settled on a location in Plymouth. Plymouth is a small coal patch town with a with a lower income population. They purchased a three story building for cash and completely renovated the first floor to accommodate their business. They designed the space to reach a wide variety of patrons. One side of the business is designed for a quick service meal offering a breakfast and lunch. The other side of the business offers a fine dining experience. After months of working on the renovations, The Comfort Zone opened its doors in the summer of 2012.

Business was extremely slow and by September they decided to close the doors and reevaluate the business. Since they never left their jobs in New York City, Reyes and Mullen concentrated on saving more money to put into the business. In December of 2012 they felt that they had saved enough money to reopen and give it another try. Again, business was slow and it was difficult to make ends meet.

In late March of 2013, Reyes turned to the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help. Because of limited funds, Reyes was looking for inexpensive ways to get the word out about his business. The SBDC suggested that they create a Facebook page that tells what the daily specials are accompanied by photos. The SBDC also suggested that Reyes get involved with one or more of the digital advertising companies that offers deals to its members. Most importantly, the SBDC held a grand opening for Reyes in early May. The grand opening has led to two articles being written and published in the local newspapers. As a result of these efforts, they have seen a significant increase in their breakfast and lunch business.