Written by: Devana Petrovic, Staff Writer
Local vendor and coffee chain Renaissance Coffee reopened on September 28 after closure due to COVID-19. The Peak spoke with owner Parminder Parhar about the business’ integrated protocols, as well as some of the challenges that have come with SFU’s decision to remain primarily remote.
“We have followed all the protocols from the Simon Fraser Safety Department. We have shields for the safety of workers and customers, elevated training, sanitizer for the customers, no more self-serve, and everything is packaged,” Parhar said.
Due to remote classes, Renaissance Coffee has experienced a significant decrease in customers and has changed some of its product offerings. Parhar explained that they’re currently not offering their full menu, only coffee and baked goods.
“The main difficulty was that the business went down to zero,” stated Parhar, explaining that the cafe had nearly seven months of no business. “We depend on this,” he continued, “[it is] how we are able to provide for our family. We had our share of challenges, but we are not alone in this. Everybody is going through the same challenges.” He added that the worst is behind them, and that they are now looking forward.
“I think we have to start somewhere,” he said, “we can’t be sitting at home forever. We all have to do our part, we have to restart, we have to get going [ . . . ] Going forward there may not be classes next semester, so we have taken this bold step that we’re going to be open,” Parhar explained.
When asked about the possibility of extending their hours of operation, Parhar noted that “it will all depend on when [SFU is] going to reopen the campus and when there is going to be more people on campus. As soon as that happens, [they] will extend [their hours].
“We have been a part of this campus for almost 23 years and we have never experienced this situation before. We are in a situation where there is [ . . . ] very little business, so I just want to make an appeal to the community [to] please help us out. We’ve been a very intricate part of this campus, this community, so this is a time when we are really asking for this community’s help to get us going,” he concluded.
The Renaissance Coffee in the AQ is currently operating Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is closed on holidays. The SFU community can find updates on SFU Food.