Local businesses respond to pandemic

Curbside courtesy: A sign in front of Juli's Coffee and Bistro in downtown Topeka designates parking for curbside pickup. This is one example of how the city of Topeka is helping local businesses during this time.

Kodee Christensen

As we get deeper into the days following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, its effects in the various areas of our communities rise to the surface.

One large group of individuals impacted are those employed at local businesses.

“While some have seen their lives slow down and are stuck at home, others have seen the reverse,” said senior Caleb Soliday, an employee at Glory Days Pizza. “Although I am one of the lucky ones who was able to find a job, it comes at a price. Our deliveries have gone through the roof here at Glory Days, which is great to see people support local chains.”

For restaurants – delivery and takeout orders are now the main sources of sales and income.

At Juli’s Coffee and Bistro, delivery hadn’t been a standard offering before they were faced with the decision of closing their lobby.

“Luckily we do cater as well,” said Delena Frank, a senior at Washburn University and Juli’s catering manager. “Most of our catering has declined as well because we can’t have groups larger than ten people now. We started offering what we call batch recipes which are dinners you can take home and make yourself just by putting in your oven, that way you can still get the restaurant style but at home.”

Aside from restaurants, local entities such as Kaw Valley Bank are being affected in unique ways.

“The lobbies are closed at all branch locations, and only the drive thru is being used,” said sophomore Kaylee Schweer, a teller at Kaw Valley Bank. “At first they were allowing people to make appointments to come into the branch if they wanted to set up an account. However, as of this last week, you’re not allowed inside of the branch unless you’re an employee.”

Amidst undeniable issues presented by the pandemic, there are also ways these local businesses can be helped by the community.

“I encourage anyone that is finding themselves not wanting to cook or want something of comfort please order local,” said Soliday. “Servers who lost their jobs are now fighting over carryout shifts and every tip counts, for delivery drivers as well.”

Patience and understanding are small things we can all do to help those still providing services during this time.

“Have patience with us because there’s very limited lanes for people to go through and not having lobbies to also filter customers through makes things back up really fast,” said Schweer. “It’s stressful for us and it’s stressful for you – if we’re just calm and patient with each other things will go much easier.”

Local businesses are wanting to work with the community to make things work under these difficult circumstances.

“If you can, come see us [at Juli’s Coffee and Bistro],” said Frank. “We have a deck with sitting space outside. We’ll bring a table and chairs outside or seat you on the sidewalk; whatever we need to do.”

Edited by Abbie Barth, Wesley Tabor