The early part of April was spent in a similar place to how we ended the last post, catching our breath, grieving the loss of times past and trying to think about moving forward. I’m grateful our little company (at this point) was given these moments. We had kept our Slabtown location open for take-out, and our roastery open for shipping.
I can honestly say there are a couple of things that got us through what (in general) was a bit of a dark time. First we came to the realization that we still loved the work. Hospitality was more complicated now than previously, yes. We were operating at a fraction of our scale, and with a fraction of our team, but the work gave us joy— inviting people in, listening to their tales, in small ways through the work we did for them… letting them know they matter, they are important and they are valuable. The second thing that got us through was the immense encouragement we received from our guests: The notes in the orders we would get online, the gift cards for a meal dropped off at our store, the tips our guests would leave for our small team of baristas — it was so humbling. We felt incredibly grateful to be granted these encouragements when we needed them most.
The middle of April found us with some renewed energy and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The combination of more available information from health authorities and finding what was working with Slabtown — what guests were comfortable with, we knew we needed to work on re-opening the rest of our retail footprint under our new take-out model.
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The rest of April (and most of May) found us reformatting our stores for the highly regulated take-out model we had tested & adjusted through our continued operations at Slabtown. We re-opened both of our SE stores in May and it was a joy beyond describing to welcome a portion of our team back to work. In tandem with re-opening stores, we’ve embarked on some long term projects that will see Good Coffee pivot away from a singular focus on direct-to-consumer brick and mortar retail. We’re currently well down the path of formatting our coffee(s) and our approach to engaging the end user with care and intentionality into more offsite channels that bring additional excitement to our team’s work rhythms.
As of the day I write this, May 29th, so much has changed from March 13. There are things that used to be a part of our reality in hospitality that aren’t coming back anytime soon. Right now we’re focused on building something new, and while the picture is still fuzzy we do know that in light of the current landscape we’re searching for something along the following lines: A format that continues to allow us to work with amazing people; A format that still allows us to use hospitality to tell our guests they are important, seen and worthwhile; and finally a format that allows us to work with the level of artisan products presented in such a way as to create for both parties (co-worker & guest) all manners of delight.
Only time will tell what is ahead for all of us. We’re grateful we get to play a part and we’re grateful to each of you who have been on this journey too. While we’re all figuring out how to build something new, know that we’ll be cheering you on. And here’s to whatever is ahead — making space for the heartbreak, and looking for the hope. Onward.