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Local community provides financial support for former business owner

It’s one thing to lose a business, but quite another when devastating family health issues weigh in on the emotional, mental, and physical aspects that have developed recently for Stay. Social Tap + Table owner, Renee Hajek.

The local community has rallied around Hajek and her family who are grappling with serious financial and health issues.

She owned Stay. Social Tap + Table in Evans until December, when the restaurant closed its doors after she lost her license to serve alcohol.

Just as Hajek was selling items from Stay, such as furniture and equipment, and preparing to move out of the building, her 11-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. She can’t work because she now serves as her daughter’s full-time caretaker.

“My family is in absolute devastation mode,” Hajek said. “I still have outstanding bills for Stay I have to pay.”

One of those bills is a $36,000 forgivable loan provided to Stay by the Development Authority of Columbia County. That agency has notified her that the loan won’t be forgiven, even though her business closed.

Renee Hajek with a customer in happier times.

To help the family, a fundraiser called Healing for the Hajeks has been established on the Givebutter platform. So far, between individual donations and an auction of the restaurant’s remaining items, more than $28,000 has been raised. During the auction, which has officially ended, various items were sold, including cookware, furniture, equipment, and Stay’s tap system.

On Facebook, Hajek posted a list of remaining items after the auction, which include a Lorex security system, a large cutting board, and a Toast point of sale system.

The goal is to raise a total of $70,000, which will be used to cover various expenses, including her younger son’s tuition at a therapeutic academy for boys.

“I’m very grateful that we have this chance to get him the help he needs,” she said.

Hajek said people understand the financial devastation of losing her business and enduring other hardships, but many don’t realize the emotional toll they’ve taken on her and her family.

“Mental health is just as important, if not more important, as physical health,” she said.

But Hajek is thankful for the generosity of the local community.

“Everyone has been emotionally and financially supportive,” she said.

For a full list of the remaining items or to donate, visit

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