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Cure Coffeehouse in Norfolk trying to perk up after weak few months of sales

Posted at 2:09 PM, May 26, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Cure Coffeehouse in downtown Norfolk has weathered many bitter blows over the past 10 years in business.

"In 2015, we had our awning collapse that forced us to close, and then right before coronavirus in March we had a small fire from a cigarette butt," said co-owner Chris Shelter.

But it's the coronavirus that has trumped all storms for this small business.

"This is completely different. You can't operate a small business at a substantial loss for very long," he said.

Shelton says initial sales were down 70%; now they sit at about a 50% loss.

The business model at Cure is all about serving up a cup of Joe with a side of community, said Shelton.

"We can't deliver on that being closed to public. That is one of our biggest values - people coming in and enjoying their food and fare in our shop," said Shelton.

Now, customers must order online for their caffeine kick or outside through a baby monitor strapped to the glass window.

"We have an increase in labor due to the delivery service and meeting people at the door. It's not as simple as heading to the cash register," he said.

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Shelton says thanks to the Payroll Protection Program, he is able to keep the shop open and 13 employees paid, but costs have increased due to social distancing.

"We are spending a great amount on gloves and masks," said Shelton.

Cure will soon start outdoor dining with a total of 12 seats, but it is still a far cry from the 60 he could seat inside.

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"Everything little thing is helping, but it is still not adding up to anything near what we were doing before," said Shelton.

The "cure," says Shelton, for a wake-up in sales.

"Your latte, your breakfast, your lunch - that's what is going to do it," he said. "Please don't forget about your neighborhood coffee shop."

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