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Local café strives to stay afloat as it battles pandemic-related struggles

1948 Coffee And Juice co-owner says, 'it's been a struggle' working through the ups and downs of staffing, inflation, and supply chain issues.

TYLER, Texas — A small-owned business opened at the peak of the pandemic. Two years later, it's still battling pandemic-related issues. 

1948 Coffee And Juice Co. opened in March of 2020. Co-owner, Samuel Richmann says "it's been a struggle" overcoming the ups and downs. Those struggles include inflation, supply chain issues, and staffing shortages. 

Richmann says on average the café has 17-18 employees; now only 10. As customers increase, "staffing continues to decline."

Stephen Lynch, Area Operation Manager at Workforce Solutions East Texas says while these dilemmas impact all businesses, "the small businesses are impacted more" due to the need for employees on a daily basis to stay in business while the demand for remote work increasing.

A survey of small businesses by Goldman Sachs shows 76 percent of small businesses have been negatively impacted by inflation over the last six months.

In order to keep the lights on, 1948 Coffee And Juice Co has had to adjust their menu items and prices and the response from customers has been mixed:

"Unfortunately, it hasn't been as well received as I hoped. We have received many bad reviews. We've tried to be open and transparent and say 'hey, so that we can stay in business and pay our staff higher wages, pay the rent here, we have to raise the prices a little bit," Richmann explained.

However, the cafe's regulars are keeping the business alive says Richmann. According to the co-owner, regular customers began coming more during this difficult time.

Musharaf Mohiuddin used to be a Starbucks regular, then he found 1948 Coffee and Juice Co and has been going every day for the past 18 months. He says, "the coffee is awesome like one of the best in town right now."

Mohiuddin says he spends his time at the café because he has built close relationships with the owners, employees, and their families. He says shopping local is a plus.

Despite the pandemic woes, this local business is hoping to open another location by mid-April to continue cultivating culture.

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