SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The long line Friday at Cafe Soleil just goes to show you how popular this downtown Sacramento restaurant is, and – now more than ever – loyal customers are fighting to keep it open.

“When you have a longstanding business like that, I just hate to see anything happen,” one customer said.

George Ix and his wife Nicole have been running Cafe Soleil for 19 years at 917 Ninth Street, and for most of those years it’s been non-stop business.

“It’s delicious and wonderful food and great people,” customer Tammy McCabe said.

But like many other small businesses these days, Cafe Soleil has been hit hard by the economy and is struggling to keep its doors open.

“I just keep going,” owner George Ix said. “I can’t give up.”

Aside from business trouble, George’s wife, Nicole, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and is unable to work at the cafe.

“We miss seeing her every day,” customer Kim Olsen said. “We wish her well.”

Hearing about Nicole’s health condition and the cafe’s struggles was enough for a group of local businesses to step up to the plate by starting a Facebook page.

“Encourage people to come here, spend money, get lunch and breakfast here more often,” organizer Whitney Erdman said.

The also started a “keep the change” campaign for Cafe Soleil.

“You come in here and have lunch, give them $20 and maybe your lunch is only $12, then you tell them to keep the change,” Erdman said.

It’s a place that many people say is not only known for its impressive menu, but, more important, the strong relationships they have with their loyal customers.

“We want to do everything we can to support the local business owners since they’ve supported us over the years,” Erdman said.

George says he appreciates all the support from the community and hopes to be able to return the favor for other small businesses.

“I would do the same … if someone is in trouble,” George said. “I appreciate that.”


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