Thankful Beyond Measure
Taking stock of this year, 2020, is humbling. In March, when we wrote the blog about how our Beverly Hills 90212 café doors would remain open every single day in order to serve our community (albeit mostly via our AHARON mobile app that allows for easy delivery or pay-ahead-and-grab-n-go), we were not sure how we would be able to remain vital and solvent given the pandemic backdrop.
This year has been scary, and different, and devastating. Aharon’s beloved younger sister battled COVID in the hospital in Israel, though thankfully she is now on solid footing, still exhausted, but out of the woods. My father’s only brother, my powerhouse titan lawyer uncle who always appeared larger than life, died from COVID complications. Meanwhile, in order to protect our employees, customers and ourselves, our social, energetic and people-loving younger kids and teens have not been permitted to mingle with friends for what feels like (for them) forever.
Eighty percent of our daily regular customers and ‘out of town’ regular visitors (who, each time they traveled to Los Angeles and Beverly Hills on business or to visit family or to vacation with family, made it a point to stop by, pick up beans along with drinks and treats) dropped off by April. They have still not returned.
When One Door Closes, Others Open
But when one door closes, others open. And for the first time in our six-year existence, local Beverly Hills and Los Angeles residents who had not bothered to change their coffee destination habits when we opened, or who maybe had worked in a different neighborhood and bought their coffee there, discovered us.
It has been a mutual love affair. We adore our new ‘pandemic-driven’ regulars, and they love us right back! Foot traffic in the store is still often slow or non-existent, but sales have continued enough to allow us to pay our bills on time and continue to roast and serve the coffee Aharon Vaknin is known for.
The pandemic also gave us more time with our family. At home, where the kids all Zoom-distance-learn, and also at work, where we began to take seriously the desire of our two teenagers to get involved in the business and be put to work.
Our oldest teen is now a staple of our Sunday roster and daily closing shift, and our second oldest teen opens the store with her father each morning at 6am, bakes, works the register and the kitchen, and many days does not leave for school until 9am or later.
Perhaps most wonderfully was the expansion of our online store – we successfully moved to a more robust commercial platform to sell coffee, subscriptions, matcha and loose-leaf tea anywhere within the US. We were thrilled when customers who no longer were able to travel to our store began to order regularly online, and to gift our coffee to their friends, many of whom have now also become part of our online roster of Aharon coffee “regulars”.
How can we even begin to say thank you?
I guess just like this:
THANK YOU, FOR ALLOWING US TO SHARE THE JOY OF COFFEE WITH YOU!
WE APPRECIATE YOU.