Plymouth moms come together to save Dufner’s Deli

A west metro deli is still in business thanks to support from a group of moms. The owner says he nearly had to close his doors when he couldn’t make rent. When one mother found out, she put out a call for help.

Not only did moms tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they love the food at Dufner’s Deli, but they also love the owner. When they learned business was down 70% for owner Raj Kumar during the pandemic, they were determined to ensure the doors wouldn’t shut for good.

"I used to pay rent the first part of the week, I told her I’m late, I know that, I will pay as soon as possible. When, I don’t know," Kumar said.

Neighborhood mothers heard about the struggle and took to social media this month saying in part: "The longtime owner said they are close to shutting down."

The Facebook group ‘Plymouth MN Mamas’ answered the call.

Maren Wagner, a member of Plymouth MN Mamas said, "I haven’t been over [at Dufner’s Deli] in about six months, so when I saw the posting, I called up my friend and said we need to meet for lunch."

She wasn’t alone.

"Here in Plymouth, we have a very limited amount of family-owned businesses, especially restaurants," said Hannah Wagner, a member of Plymouth MN Mamas.

More customers started lining up.

"We all came together and said, ‘Yes, we are going to go down there, and we are going to visit it as much as possible,’" Ann Grocholski, a member of Plymouth MN Mamas, added.

It’s working. Plymouth MN Mamas posted again to social media this week, saying in part: "…He had TEARS in his eyes. He expresses enormous thanks."

"I’ve heard of mama power, but now I see the mama power, too, how the mama power works, and I love it… I paid my rent in three days… I’m not going to give up," Kumar said. "I’m getting help with [God], and my customers. They’re not my customers, they’re my family, you know, I’m not going anywhere."

Kumar has owned Dufner’s Deli for nearly eight years. He said he’s relieved this year won’t be the last.