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Opening a business in Tucson during a pandemic

Posted at 10:21 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 12:07:15-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Don't tell Bud Sayso there's a pandemic happening.

"We just opened today, we just have four hours under our belt."

It might just take away the enthusiasm he's built up to open a restaurant in Tucson. Tuk Tuk Thai is located at 2990 N Campbell Ave.

"We went through almost 300 pounds of chicken in four hours and we ran out of shrimp and we ran out of everything just for lunch."

That's just on their first day of business.

"I need to pick more supplies because I don't want to disappoint Tucson."

Along with his wife and son, Sayso moved to Tucson from Portland, Oregon where he says the family has another restaurant.

"I think it's a great opportunity in my opinion."

Sayso said he's striking while the iron is hot.

"There's a lot of restaurants closed down, a lot of restaurants can't serve, a lot of buffet places, table services."

He said friends told him Arizona was the place to open up shop, but admits it wasn't his first choice.

"I go: no...Arizona's too hot."

Eventually, after doing his research into the Thai food market here, he said he settled on the 'Old Pueblo.'

"I want to go to Tucson, I think Tucson is a great opportunity for us."

Sayso said he measured the risk.

"To me it's a calculated move."

He said he realized business was good enough in one city, why not start up in another.

"After the rebounds, we are doing better than pre-covid as of right now."

He's creating jobs.

"14 people on payroll right now."

He plans to create more jobs in the city.

"I'm hoping, I want to open four of these in the Tucson area."

The risk of opening a new business might be high but Sayso said he'll do whatever necessary to chase an opportunity in Tucson.

"We seat 80, so we only seat 40 right now, outside seating we have 24, but we only seat 12."