Rim Country businesses continue to do what they can to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With restaurant dining rooms closed with the first official case diagnosis in Gila County weeks ago, many remain open for pickup service.
Common Grounds, at 219 S. Colcord Road in Payson, is one of them.
The coffee shop has cut its hours of operation, but is still open 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
“Once the lobby gets reopened, we’ll go back to our normal hours,” said manager Ashley Morris.
When that will be, is anyone’s guess.
They feature a pickup window and several outside tables on a shady, dog-friendly patio area featuring free Wi-Fi service.
“We just tell customers to use the patio at their own discretion and practice what’s been recommended,” Morris said.
The business is located a block west of State Route 87, just north of Expedition Church.
Morris is thankful they haven’t had to lay off any of their four employees.
“We went from two shifts a day to one, so everybody’s taken a hit, but at least we’re still employed,” she said.
And she thanked the community for that.
“Business has slowed down but we have had tremendous support,” Morris said. “We have people going the extra step to support us, which has been really awesome. They’re taking the extra effort to stop and walk up to the window instead of going the more convenient route of going to a drive-thru. So, that’s enabled us to stay open. And we’ve gotten new regulars, too, that have joined the shop local movement. Without (our regular customers) we would have had to close down. We appreciate that support so that we are able to still have a job.”
They serve both hot and iced coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, a variety of hot and iced teas, lemonade and a variety of flavors including lavender, honey, caramel, mocha, white mocha, vanilla and coconut. They also serve baked goods.
Great coffee is a key to Common Ground’s success. And keeping everything local is another.
“We outsource as much locally as possible,” Morris said. “So, I am also the baker for them. We don’t buy from anywhere else. I’ve baked for them for a little over a year now.
“And Tom Plets is our coffee roaster. He is also from Payson. We use honey from Boyd’s Farm in Gisela. We use lavender from Pine Creek Lavender Farm.”
Morris said centering the business on the customers is another key to their success.
“We value getting to know our customers and giving them a sense of normalcy and a sense of home,” she said. “We are really big on connecting and developing those relationships and we want them to know they still have a place to go.”
Common Grounds raises money for local nonprofits through a tip jar for that project. They’ve had to put that on hold until they can reopen the lobby.
“Every month we highlight a different nonprofit and people are able to donate to that,” Morris said. “We want the community to be a part of us and we want to be a part of the community.”
For more information, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.