Cheezy D’s Deli and Dogs in Haslett, Michigan was robbed just months after their grand opening on June 15, a few months later than originally planned. Owners Denny and Michelle Emmer tried to make the best out of the situation.
“I knew who did it, that’s why I didn’t press charges,” said Denny. “No matter what their issue was, they needed help. We tried to make a positive out of it. The window can be replaced, and no one was hurt.”
The robbery influenced Denny to take his business to the next level and help the community. He created the VIP program, which allows customers to donate money to a tab, to help other customers who can’t afford their meals.
“If someone comes in, all they have to say is ‘I’m a VIP,’” said Denny. “No questions asked, you place your order, get it, and go.”
Cheezy D’s has helped multiple families in Haslett since they’ve opened. With the VIP program, customers who are financially stricken can order any item on the menu free of charge. From ice cream to hot dogs, there are plenty of options for any type of eater.
“I’m happy we have the VIP program,” said Michelle. “There are so many people who struggle. We just want to help.”
“I think they do wonderful things for the community,” said employee Gwen Wall. “I love the VIP program — to actually see a family sit down and eat together — it makes a difference.
New opportunities and events
To make up the losses from the robbery, the Emmers had to get creative. New sandwiches and hot dogs plan to be added to the menu. Cheezy D’s specializes in subs, hot dogs and ice cream.
“The menu here at Cheezy D’s is so vast,” said Wall. “There are a lot of choices on the menu.”
“We are trying to bring in 10 more sandwiches and more vegetarian options,” said Denny. “I get bored. I always want to bring something new in.”
Cheezy D’s adopted new technologies and policies for its business such as food delivery services such as Doordash and Grubhub. Due to social distancing, customers can choose a curbside option instead of going inside.
With Halloween around the corner, Cheezy D’s is hosting an event, hoping to bring in a crowd. Halloween at Cheezy D’s Deli and Dogs will take place on Halloween at 6 p.m. This gives Cheezy D’s the opportunity to bond with its customers and community members.
“My wife is a Halloween fanatic,” said Denny. “She dresses up as a witch every year and she loves to see the kids in costume. We plan on closing at 5 p.m. on Saturday so we can sit outside and pass out candy and hot chocolate to the kids and their parents.”