Businesses innovate to stay afloat, help neighbors

Businesses innovate to stay afloat, help neighbors

Shannon Joyce of Smithfield, Jessica Putrino of Manville and Allison Cournoyer of Woonsocket have moved from serving customers inside to The Coffee Cubby’s walk-up window.

LINCOLN – As state leaders have increased restrictions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, local businesses small and large have had to act quickly to come up with a plan of action.

“This week has been pretty overwhelming and stressful but we are still here,” said Kayla Morris, chef and owner of Gingersnaps Bakery on Front Street.

Morris said the week of St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day was their busiest last year, and they were hoping for the same this year.

“As of right now, the community has not disappointed us and even though they aren’t able to stay and hang out with us in the shop, they have gotten their families stocked up on holiday treats and seem very grateful that we have remained open,” Morris said. “We are extremely lucky to have such a supportive community who has reached out and come in to make sure we are still doing business.”

She still has long-term fears about the impact of the coronavirus slowdown as the owner of a “very small and still very new business.”

“Food service establishments in general don’t have very big margins to work with, so if we are not doing business for a day or two, that can severely impact the ability to pay our bills, pay staff and have enough funds to stay afloat,” she said.

As of now, Morris said almost every custom order has been postponed because customers are needing to move the parties they were planning. Custom orders, specifically custom cakes, make up a significant piece of the bakery’s income.

“Without that whole aspect of the business operating, I have had to cut back on staff, whose jobs are made up of custom work,” Morris said.

While the bakery remains open, space inside is limited, so Morris has been encouraging customers to call ahead and they’ll run the order out to the car.

Davenport’s Restaurant in Cumberland, among many other eateries, has been offering curbside takeout as well.

With permission from the state, some restaurants are now serving beer and wine to go with meals.

“I have a lot of faith in the support of our community who are grateful to have a bakery in town and want to see us succeed. We appreciate every sale we are able to make despite of all of this because it truly is helping keep our doors open for the long term,” Morris told The Breeze. “We are hoping we are able to get back to sitting and chatting with our regulars very soon.”

The Coffee Cubby in Manville is meeting the neighborhood’s caffeine needs with a walk-up window for its patrons. Employees said they’re wrapping up cookies and pastries so customers can easily grab a bite to eat at the window with their coffee.

Another Manville business, The Harmony Café, is helping the community by offering free student lunches on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.