▶️ ‘Each customer is a great gift now’ as local businesses struggle with the new normal

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

On a normal day, the recently-opened Kevista Coffee in Bend is packed with students, friends and remote workers.

But since COVID-19 came to Oregon, owners Kevin and Krista Lauinger have seen a fifty to seventy percent drop in customers.

“We created this space for community and for people to gather, that was a passion of ours,” Krista said. “So it crushes us to not be able to offer that to people.” 

Only Kevin, Krista and their kids are now working at the coffee shop. They two owners had to lay off twelve employees, after Governor Kate Brown ordered all restaurants and bars to offer to-go and takeout only.

“Our decision was, we have to keep this afloat,” Kevin said. “Right now paying employees is not an option.” 

Some of those employees were stay-at-home moms and college students. Krista and Kevin said all the employees understood the difficult situation Kevista is in. 

“We have a sweet crew that works here,” Kevin said. “They love being here and we love working with them. We’ve become a bit of a family.” 

The couple told employees they hope to bring them back on, but can’t give them a date as to when. Right now, the two are just trying to keep the business open. 

“We appreciate every single customer,” Krista said. “They don’t know how much they mean.” 

“Each customer is a great gift right now,” Kevin agreed.

The coffee shop owners encourage customers to visit other coffee shops and local businesses too. 

“We’re not going to make a ton of money, but if we can keep our doors open to provide jobs in a few weeks, that’s our goal,” Kevin said. “Our goal is to hang on to this so we can get back to normal life.” 

 

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