Business Not As Usual: Coffee Shops

Despite businesses taking serious measures to protect their customers and employees, COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin are continuing to rise.  As of August 22, the totality of Wisconsin cases has surpassed 70,000. This is likely to increase even more in the coming weeks as Wisconsin’s universities open. Several notable universities, such as The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, were open for only a week before they went online completely due to coronavirus outbreaks among students.

On July 30, Governor Tony Evers issued Executive Order #82 requiring all Wisconsin residents to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces, which includes both outdoor and indoor locations. Although wearing face coverings has proven to be an effective measure in controlling the spread of the virus, COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin are still on the rise. 

Ever since outbreaks of COVID-19 began to spread rapidly throughout the country, the majority of businesses have done all they can to stay open after their brief closures. More specifically, businesses have implemented strict safety protocols and sanitation levels to ensure customers can still support their businesses while staying safe. 

Copper Rock Coffee Company of Downtown Appleton has gone the extra mile to maintain their customer satisfaction. Benjamin Jaeger, a manager at Copper Rock, explains what the shop is encouraging their customers to do to promote physical distancing. According to Jaeger, Copper Rock has made efforts to promote their online store to limit the amount of traffic inside. Customers can order online and pick up their curbside orders as well as having their orders delivered through UberEats and EatStreet. Copper Rock’s loyalty program allows customers to purchase bulk coffee and brew it at home. “I think you can see we have done a ton to keep our staff and customers safe and healthy during this time. We hope that these items that have been put in place will remain consistent even after the pandemic subsides…minus the masks,” Jaeger says. 

Of course, there are still customers who will choose to order and sit inside the coffee shop. As a result, Copper Rock has promoted physical distancing by marking the floors, spacing out and eliminating seating, and decreasing the number of employees running the shop. Stricter methods of sanitation have been implemented as well; high-touch surfaces are being wiped down every thirty minutes and hand sanitizer is available for customers and staff. Before the mask mandate came into effect, masks were mandatory for employees. Copper Rock’s staff also monitor their symptoms daily and are to remove themselves from work if they have symptoms that align with COVID-19.  

Although many businesses like Copper Rock Coffee Company remain open during the pandemic, others have not . After closing amid the first outbreak in early 2020, Timshel Cafe in Downtown Neenah has decided not to reopen. Instead, a new cafe will be reopening in place of it. Stephan Witchell, founder of Tempest Coffee in Appleton and owner of Lawlss Coffee in Sturgeon Bay, will be opening a Lawlss Coffee in Timshel’s previous location. According to a final post on Timshel Cafe’s Facebook page, Witchell is set to open Neenah’s Lawlss by September 1. 

Timshel Cafe Photo by Adam Shea of Adam Shea Photography,

While many businesses have remained optimistic during the pandemic, it’s clear that some have suffered as well, often ending in complete closures. In Witchell’s case, however, his strong customer following makes him able to open a new location amidst a health pandemic.

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