Local coffee shop uses down time to make improvements
April 7, 2020
By TOM LAVENTURE
Hurley — Sharon’s Coffee Company is accustomed to closing briefly for spring repairs, but the owners decided on a major project for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown order.
“We are lucky this pandemic didn’t come during snowmobile season,” said Sharon Ofstad, owner, noting that it tends to slow down after winter until Memorial Day weekend. “We had a wonderful winter and we’re looking forward to a great summer. Let’s hope everybody gets healthy and we get rid of this virus, the sooner the better.”
The business at 122 Silver St., did attempt to keep everyone working with curbside service after the COVID-19 shutdown order. It wasn’t cost effective and so the four full-time and six part-time staff are laid off for now.
“I miss them,” Ofstad said. “We’re like a family.”
The expressions on the faces of her staff as they faced unemployment had an effect, Ofstad said.
“We can’t wait to get back open and see our customers,” Oftad said. “We really miss them.”
Historic buildings tend to need a lot of tender loving care. She wanted the original maple hardwood flooring to look as good as the pressed tin ceiling and walls that had been protected by decades of lowered ceilings and paneling until she restored the original luster for the coffee shop.
“We had all of this scheduled to do in our plan,” Ofstad said. “We usually shut down for a week or so in the spring. It depends on what kinds of projects and updates that we have to do.”
The planned work includes new equipment for the kitchen and some deep cleaning and painting. The added work includes replacing small tables with a row of handmade booths.
“We are changing things around to offer a little bit more privacy for people who come in,” Ofstad said. “We did the other (restaurant) side a few years ago to add extra seating for evening customers.”
The project benefits from the skills of her husband, Daniel, and two sons, David and Casey, who are all loggers and carpenters. The three sanded, stained and varnished the floor to its original natural wood shine.
The three men also built a row of booths and an 8-foot long, 3-inch thick wood table for the front window of the coffee shop. Both projects add more seating to the coffee shop side, she said.
“My husband logged all the timber that was used in the business,” Ofstad said. “They milled it, sawed it and did the carpentry.”
The other side of the shop, a restaurant with a bar, was completed in a previous restoration. Ofstad initially rented the coffee shop space and bought the building when it went up for sale a few months later.
The other half of the building was a retail shop that she transformed into restaurant space. She created an entrance from inside the coffee shop for overflow seating when she added display cases to the coffee shop side for the bakery.
Oftad’s daughter, Jenna, is the partner on the coffee shop side.
This is a time of year that is typically slow for businesses that benefit from a lot of visitors along with the local clientele, she said. Business starts to pick up again after Memorial Day weekend, she said.
“Hopefully by that time our area and the rest of the country will be up and running again,” Ofstad said.
If the work is completed before then Ofstad said she may consider starting the curbside service again for the duration of the pandemic shutdown order.
“Expect us to be back as soon as we can,” she said.