ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WETM) —Parts of Upstate New York are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. As a result, this week portions of the Southern Tier are moving into the yellow and orange phase.
Those phases began new restrictions starting Oct. 23. Elmira Heights is one municipality who is in the Orange phase, but one local coffee company still hosted their grand opening, while following safety guidelines.
“It’s combining my love for games, table top games, video games, board games along with coffee,” said Morgan Grover, Owner and Operator of Bell’s Country Coffee and Big Nerd Coffee Company. “My idea there was basically to combine the sense of family or sense of community over a cup of coffee or tea as well as over a board game or video game, having a good time with your friends.”
Bell’s Country Coffee has been operating in the Heights for 8 years. In September, Grover opened up his very own coffee roasting company called Big Nerd Coffee Company. The company has been working with other businesses in the Southern Tier Region like Upstate Brewing Company, Horseheads Brewery, and Downtown Grind.
“We’re working with getting it to a few other places and stuff,” Grover said. “It’s been a slow process getting—going with the whole COVID thing and working with regulations but it’s slowly building.”
Grover told 18 News the grand reopening happened at an inopportune moment but the business is doing the best they can.
“We’re just rolling with the punches the best we can,” Grover said. “We’re very focused on making sure the community is safe and everyone in here is safe. We’re just going to have fun with it. We’re still following all the guidelines while still giving away free coffee and doing the best we can really.”
Grover said the business is following guidelines from the county and the CDC to ensure customers are staying safe and healthy.
“We are only allowing two people in the kitchen, and two people up front at a time,” Grover said. “We also have to limit the number of customers who can be inside but 70-80% of our customers call ahead and do curbside pickup.”
This local shop is trying to be the best they can for the community. Grover said their proceeds go to organizations who help benefit others in need.
“This is something very local,” Grover said. “All of our coffee is fair trade, and organic. All of it goes to different co-ops that helps for different funding, like women’s rights organizations. All the money goes to good needs and not just big corporations.”