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Family works together to keep their Portsmouth cafe open during pandemic

Posted at 4:24 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 07:01:24-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Just weeks ago, Angela Clark never considered offering a curbside service, but a pandemic has a way of forcing change.

"(We're) just looking at everything to see what we can do, what we can streamline, what we can improve," said the owner of The Coffee Shoppe.

Clark has owned the cafe at High and Middle Streets for 11 years offering coffees, baked goods and sandwiches, among other menu items.

She's gotten to know the regulars that come sit and read the paper with their coffee and the ones who stop in while working in Downtown Portsmouth.

These days, social distancing rules in Virginia take away a lot of that face-time, but The Coffee Shoppe can still have up to ten people inside at a time, even if they have to order to-go.

Clark says overall her business is down 50-60 percent, depending on the day and she's had to let go of most of her staff.

Now it's just her and her three teenagers running the place. With school canceled, Clark is getting time with them that she never thought she'd have.

"Two of them are seniors in high school, one of them is a tenth grader. I can never get this time back. As much hard work as it is to keep things going, I'm never going to get the time back with them so there are lots of silver linings," said Clark.

Another silver lining is the time she's taking to improve her business model.

Take out has always been offered, but curbside service is new and Clark says she plans to keep it even after things go back to normal.

Currently, the Coffee Shoppe is open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays. It's closed on Sundays. You can call them at (757)-391-9191.

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