TULSA, Okla. — With more than 37,000 coffee shops in the U.S., the Tulsa metro area has its fair share of diverse, trendy spots making Americans favorite beverage: coffee.
However, this industry has been impacted since the coronavirus outbreak in March.
"As business was slower, sales were slower at first, which really meant we couldn't afford all the people that used to work here," says Jonny Rice, a barista and social media manager of the Coffee House on Cherry Street (CHOCS).
The staff was reduced for a while at the small coffee shop, but Rice says they've been slowly bringing back a lot of the employees. The shop is also closing earlier than normal and has reduced hours during the week.
Like many other eateries in town, their biggest change was closing their dining area due to COVID-19 restrictions, which usually attracts customers to come and enjoy their favorite beverage, read a book or just socialize with friends.
“A lot of people love to come here and hang out here all day sometimes, and that couldn’t happen anymore," says Rice.
CHOCS has gone from an in-person hanging spot to doing to-go orders. Customers can either call ahead and place an order or walk in the store and follow social distancing guidelines.
It also has a new pickup window next to their building where customers can grab their order and go. Rice says they're still offering everything on their menu from locally-roasted coffee and specialty drinks to their homemade breakfast and pastry items.
The shop used to host a popular open mic night every Wednesday, but that was shut down due to the restrictions. So now they've been trying it out virtually on Instagram.
"It’s just basically me hanging out here hosting and then connecting to the open mic-er that still want to play, and they play wherever they are," says Rice.
The last one had about 60 to 70 viewers tuned in, which Rice says it's a very good turnout. He'll be hosting open mic night every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m.
Having to adapt to the changes comes with the times, and nothing is stopping CHOCS from serving their customers. Rice says it's all about community and coming together as one.
"We just want to say thank you to Tulsa and to Cherry Street and the surrounding areas," says Rice, "It's been amazing to see all the best customers coming in."
The coffee shops has a plan to reopen to the public for dine-in once restrictions are lifted on Thursday. It will start with open seating outside before it feels safe to open their dining area.
You can find CHOCS on Facebook for their full menu and new announcements. It is located on 1502 E. 15th St., Tulsa.
It is open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
CHOCS is also teaming up with another small business in town called The Spice Market to sell their seasoning mixes. It used to have it products in local farmers markets, which have been canceled due to the pandemic. You can find The Spice Market's products inside the coffee shop.
This is one of several local small businesses we are featuring in our "We're Open Green Country" series.
Visit our website, for a full list of businesses. You may also fill out a submission form for a small business that is still operating and offering essential services.
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