Online Sales Helping Chicago Roasters, But Will Specialty Coffee Survive Pandemic?


Spring is when outdoor patios open, wholesale business picks up and beverage lineups for the summer are nailed down.

Instead, dine-in and to-go orders have been replaced with stay-at-home orders, staffs have been laid off and green coffee beans sit unroasted, all due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At Big Shoulders Coffee, Coonan was gearing up for his busiest year. The company recently opened its seventh cafe, at 311 S. Wacker Drive, and expanded production facilities to satisfy wholesale accounts. On March 17, the first full day of the mandated restaurant shutdown in Illinios, he limited cafes to mobile pickup and carryout only. Four days later he shut down retail sales altogether.

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