Running a coffee company in the midst of COVID 19 has been everything from difficult, to educational, heartbreaking, to hopeful. As this season has unfolded, and we’ve been fortunate to be loved by people who’ve long been friends, and communities we’ve had the opportunity to serve for years — I’ve been so impacted by how far reaching this crisis has been, touching everyone and everything in its path.
Mid March through early April was crisis management for us, and while we’re still taking things day-by-day, I’ve been convicted to share a small window into Good Coffee’s journey in these last weeks. I thought it would make the most sense to write a series of posts detailing the weeks behind, and some thoughts about the landscape moving forward. Our collective humanity in this story: the people we employ, the people we used to employ and our own humanity as operators is just a single window (one story) into the crisis affecting our city, and our nation. My hope in sharing this story is to provide some small amount of fabric to where we’ve seen heartbreak and hope in the midst of COVID-19.
I have to preface this mini-series with two quick thoughts. The first is that I never imagined writing a series about running a coffee company in crisis. In the last five + years of building Good Coffee, our directors, myself included, have often been asked to sit for coffee by a mixture of people — those who are merely curious, and those who have specific interests in building a coffee company of their own. When time has allowed, these have been delightful conversations. Combine these requests with the fact that sometime in March of 2020 we were faced with wrapping up Good Coffee as we know it, and pivoting to something we’re still figuring out — and we were still getting similar requests (except without the ‘sit for coffee’ part)… ‘how are you doing? What’s it like to try to run a coffee company in the midst of the COVID-19 landscape?’
At some point, I thought it would be mutually beneficial to write an answer to these questions. It has been a very strange journey and I don’t always know how to think of it, but I can share what we’ve seen so far.
The second thing I would share is that while I act as Good Coffee’s managing director, I am only one of a number of partner / owners and what I choose to share re: insight into these last weeks does not directly represent all / or any of the views or experiences of our other owner / partners. I would also share that this story is merely a small window into Good Coffee’s experience during this time. This is not meant to be a story to represent the personal journey of our staff, nor the personal journey of so many who were guests at our coffee bars. While I’ve experienced both joy and heaviness in the last weeks getting to hear many of their stories (both former staff members and guests alike) — filled with hope and challenge, these are their stories to tell… not ours at Good Coffee. This story as I am about to share in the posts to come, while meant to be a collective story — as all colletive stories go, has a narrator and with a narrator, a limited perspective.
Without any more prefaces, I’ll get started. I hope that in this time you are staying safe + well.
Our hearts are with you.