What a Difference a Year Makes
What a difference a year makes. It is the beginning of December 2020 and I am reflecting on the year that we have had. This time last year, we would not have imagined the changes that would be thrust upon us by Covid-19. As a coffee bean importer, roaster, producer, wholesaler, retailer, e-commerce manager, café operator and running of a barista school, our world was turned upside down on March 14th. On that day, we let all our staff, bar one go. Luckily, they could benefit form the Covid Payment put in place by the Irish Government. For the next 2 months three of us worked tirelessly roasting, packaging, and dispatching coffee to any of our customers who remained open and to many new online customers. We also washed our entire premises down from top to bottom, re-painted and fixed and maintained everything possible.
Eventually in June, we brought back one staff member to help with production and web orders. Then, a few weeks later, we brought back another staff member to help roast. By July, the café we re-opened for takeaway only and we brought back another team member.
The shift in our business was huge – very limited wholesale as most hotels and restaurants were closed or running at hugely restricted capacity. Our local community was great to support us with take-away coffees and bags of coffee. We adjusted, as one must, to the new environment. We could not grow our wholesale business, so we focused on our e-commerce platform. We invested heavily at the onset in google ads to grow our online presence. This paid off because we attracted lots of new customers and their support of Ponaire, helped us survive the summer.
With more time to think and plan, we started preparing for Christmas. We invested in Ponaire logo courier bags and had luxury gift boxes designed for us. We had professional photographs taken for our new offerings and had catalogues printed. Along the way, we consciously worked with local Irish companies to support our Irish economy.
After an unfortunate Covid scare in September, we closed for 2 weeks. After this second setback to our business, we had no choice but to pick up where we left off and move forward. We started roasting and sampling various new coffees to select an extra special one for Ponaire’s Christmas Coffee. We found a beautiful coffee from Guatemala that met our criteria. It’s from the Hueheuetenango region near the Mexican border. The name of this coffee is MAYA. The coffee is fully washed and has notes of coconut, macadamia, fresh almonds, citrus and chocolate.
So as this year is coming to a close, we see a light at the end of the tunnel and hope for a vaccine in the new year. Hopefully 2021 will get us back out to coffee farms and meeting with the people that make our industry so proud.
We want to thank all our customers near and far for your tremendous support this year. It has been tough, but we adjusted and will be be stronger and better than ever in 2021. We wish you all health and happiness.
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