What was the Covid lockdown like as a small business owner?
Well it depends on which owner you ask. Aaron, my husband, is an extrovert. More than anything, he loves when the place is full of people. A huge part of why we started a coffee shop was not just to provide great coffee, but a great place for people to hang out and relax, to meet up with friends and family, or just to find a moment’s rest in their busy day.
I love people too, just in smaller amounts. I also love when the place is full of people. It’s exciting. But it also drains me, the longer I am there.
But during the lockdown, I have never seen my husband so drained and exhausted. I guess I knew the differences between introverts and extroverts before, but I had never seen that side of it. It was hard for me to watch. I felt so helpless.
Every morning, instead of being excited to go to work, he dreaded it. He dreaded the empty chairs, the silence. Because we couldn’t afford to pay our employees anymore, he worked the whole time entirely alone. Sometimes I would help if I could, but around this time, my back started hurting and really limited how long I could be on my feet.
There were a few times he talked about just closing up shop. It was getting that hard for him to bear. But since this business is our only source of income, he didn’t really have much choice. Sometimes people don’t want to be encouraged, and it got to that point where I had to step back and just pray for him. It was all I could do.
But a lot of good came from that season as well. We were forced to be more creative in what products and services we offered. Because we were getting less people, we needed to allow the people that did come in to make bigger purchases than they could before. This is how the latte jars were born. We made lattes in mason jars, sizing from 32oz to 64oz. We were amazed how popular these were. We also offered lockdown survival packages, which included a t-shirt, a chocolate bar, a latte jar, and a bag of coffee beans.
Hard times can bring out the best in people and the worst in people. We saw a bit of both. We got a few rude phone calls that did nothing to help encourage us.
But more than anything, we will remember the generosity that we saw during this time. The tips that we got carried us through and fed us and paid our bills and more than anything, gave us hope. It was such an encouragement to see people support us, to see how much people cared about a small local business.
This time also showed us that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. We always wanted to start roasting our own beans, but the pandemic showed us just how vital roasting could be to our survival as a business in an ever-changing economy. But more on roasting another time! Thanks for reading, and thanks so much for all your support through the good times and the bad. We love serving our city.