How to help local coffee shops survive coronavirus

Posted at 1:15 PM, Mar 18, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — Rowland Smith knows just how much small businesses are suffering due to coronavirus closures.

He's the owner of Third Space Coffee in Colorado Springs. But, despite the bleak outlook, he's trying to turn this crisis into a positive by changing his approach.

"Crisis breeds innovation," Smith explained. "And so we're trying to innovate."

Right now, he says there are plenty of ways you can still support your local business owners, who worry about their sustainability as it is.

"Usually a business like ours, is pretty much operating month to month," he said.

He even took to Facebook to share how folks can help their local coffee shops during these financially tough times.

An added challenge is coping without dine-in services after the statewide order forcing their suspension.

"It was pretty shocking," he said as he remembered first hearing about it.

Although, he sees the need for the strict measures.

"I totally understand the need for safety in our community," Smith said. "But [...] as employers, we're thinking about our employees."

Smith has already had to cut employee hours, as he adapts to this new way of business. Despite his shop's seemingly empty appearance, it's still very much open.

And he wants to stress there are plenty of ways you can get your order in to keep it that way. You can call or go to the counter and place a "To-Go" order.

Loyal customers like Frankie Stevens is thrilled his favorite shop is still open. We caught up with him as he sipped his freshly-brewed coffee inside Third Space Coffee's waiting area.

"It's great to see that everybody still comes out to work," Stevens said with a smile. "And to provide a service to the people even though we are in these times."

Once you're inside, you can also buy gift cards or buy products to create your own coffee experience at home. But, if you're still craving your usual food and drink and want stay inside, why not try a delivery services like DoorDash? In turn, you're also helping give drivers a boost.

"[Placing delivery orders] helps us out," said Jason Burns, who works as a delivery driver for DoorDash and Postmates.

He briefly stopped by Third Space Coffee to pick up an order and says he's been keeping busy thanks to these local businesses.

"Everybody should support their local businesses," Burns emphasized. "That's what keeps us going."

Employees here are also providing curbside delivery to encourage their steady stream of customers to keep showing up.

All these new alternatives are a sign that neighbors are supporting each other through these bitter times, and giving local shops a shot at making it on the other side.

"I know that the general public is gonna want to see those mom and pops, those small business owners, still in their neighborhoods," Smith added.

Before you plan your visit to your local coffee shop, it's best you call them to find out what kind of services and products they are currently offering since these could vary from shop to shop.