State of the Shop #003

Out with June and in with July. We’re officially passing the halfway point into 2020. It’s hard to believe that all of this has been going on since March. Tomorrow, the United States of America celebrates Independence Day while a growing swath of the country is experiencing significant upticks in COVID-19 cases; particularly among the younger people that were previously not thought to be an issue… or so it’s being reported at this time. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s hard to know what to think and how to act. I like to think of myself as someone that’s good at taking in a vast amount of information from which I am able to process and navigate a path forward that makes an ideal win/win/win situation possible. Right now, it’s really difficult to do.

Again, I want to emphasize that Lauren and I are fine. We’re wearing our stylish masks and coordinating them with our different outfits. We’re healthy and getting by. After months of quarantine, our mental states have definitely had their ups and downs… But that pretty much goes for everyone. Lauren and I are avid accomplishers and slayers of to-do lists. As it turns out, Pandemics aren’t very hospitable to this lifestyle. It’s kind of hard to plan, forecast, and execute projects when you have no idea what the next week will bring. It’s times like these that we’re extremely thankful that we have the roastery. If we had not diversified our business, the situation would be much more dire. Regardless, the whole hurry up and wait feeling is for the birds.

We had originally set a tentative re-opening date for mid to late July, but it’s subject to change in response to a vast landscape of uncertain variables. Even as I write this update, there are states that are enacting indefinite quarantine measures for the service industry (specifically bars, restaurants, and cafes). It’s pretty much a nation-wide shit show and we’re all living in a wild west in terms of figuring out what to do. I’m still keeping up with all the news and updates, but by and large… the 24/hour news cycles are bored and repetitive.

So what’s all this mean…? To be completely honest, we don’t know. Lauren and I talk about the shop multiple times a day. It’s a constant troubleshooting exercise. It’s like playing chess on a board that is constantly changing. The lasting impact that the pandemic will leave on the cultural aspect of bars, pubs, and cafes is what I think about most. Even when the restrictions are lifted, how long will it be before people decide to gather in a crowded cafe with all of their friends, family, and associates? I know I’m not in any hurry to do that, so I can imagine others might feel the same way.

The hard part for us is that the coffee shop was designed for the very atmosphere in which we’re being told to avoid. As I mentioned in State of the Shop #001, the shop isn’t designed to operate as a carry-out option and while we might try that out for a time, it’s not something we’re interested in doing long term. When we created the coffee shop, we set it up to provide an exceptional product, atmosphere, and service to our community. We’re not interested in compromising those standards in order to pretend to be something that the space was never intended to be. We strive so hard to be so much more than just a series of liquids in disposable containers. So, while we’re still fine for now and weathering the storm… The future of the coffee shop will ultimately be determined by how the long term social distancing standards shape our society going forward. If it turns out that the coffee shop environment (as it was intended) is found to fly in the face of these new norms, we will take this feedback to heart as we steer The Caffeinery forward. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that. 🙂

Anyway, that’s enough REAL TALK for now. I imagine we’re all going to be bombarded by an assload of fireworks over the next couple of days. With everyone being cooped up for so long, it seems like a perfect time to blow shit up. With that… Lauren and I love you all. We’re still here. We’re still going forward with painting and renovations as if somehow we’ll pierce through this tidal wave and come out the other side unscathed. Let’s just hope the second wave is less menacing. <3

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