Coffee shop adjusting to grind of COVID-19 pandemic


MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A local coffee shop owner is sharing how they have been adjusting to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re all needing the business. We don’t have the bandwidth to survive much longer, if we don’t get help and people don’t keep coming in,” he said.

Vienna Coffee owner and roast master John Clark reiterating the burn small businesses across the state are feeling from COVID-19.

Like many business owners still able to operate, Vienna Coffee has had to switch up their business strategy to keep their business brewing.

Clark says while there has been a drop in business with their café closed, they are still operating through their drive-thru, which is typically about 30% of their business, but is now 100%.

In light of the current situation, Vienna Coffee is also now offering call-ahead ordering to support curbside pick up, something they did not implement before.

They still offer baked goods to-go, but their main selling point is the star of the show: Coffee.

While people continue to shelter-in-place, Clark says they have been pushing their online sales of the house-made coffee, so people can brew from the comfort of their home.

Vienna Coffee has also started selling their bagged coffee through the drive-thru.

Though they are currently making it work to keep their business open and running, Clark says they have had to furlough workers in the process, but are waiting on the stimulus money through the Payroll Protection Plan to help Vienna Coffee Co. bring employees back — even during a time with less business.

The Vienna Coffee staff have been taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe while at work by wearing a Vienna Coffee bandana used for a mask and gloves, along with wiping down counters and equipment.

The locally owned and operated shop is even providing online classes, so people can be their own roast master.

While Governor Lee mentioned working toward opening up the economy in Tennessee during some point in May, Clark says the continued local support right now is critical to help keep them around when things start to return.

“We’re still here, and we’re intending to still be here, and the only way that will happen is if people come to the drive-thru window and buy coffee,” he said.

Vienna Coffee Company’s Maryville location is operating Monday – Sunday, 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. with their drive-thru and curbside pick-up.

And the other Vienna Coffee shop in the Regas Building, located in downtown Knoxville, is offering call-ahead services and curbside pick up.

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