Cream, a new coffee shop in Downtown Norwich, opened this week and features coffee from a local roaster.
Craftsman Cliff Roasters is a wholesale distributor, also based in downtown. Before the pandemic, in addition to roasting, Craftsman Cliff was also a café.
"We would have 20-25 people in here, getting cozy, socializing," said Matthew DuTrumble, owner of Craftsman Cliff.
The pandemic forced DuTrumble to pivot. His team stopped their café operation and decided to focus on wholesale distribution.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
"We still wanted to reach our guests and our friends, and so what we were able to do is keep roasting and distribute more and more around the local area," said DuTrumble. "We have been able to take four varietals that we were roasting over time and turn it into 14 right now. We have also expanded our chocolate line."
DuTrumble's pandemic shift in operation allowed his team to thrive, but it left Downtown Norwich without a coffee shop. Until now.
Kari Herndon and Jessica Persad, sisters-in-law, are co-owners of Cream, the new coffee and tea shop on Franklin St. Both women are nurses and worked throughout the pandemic.
"You are seeing such tragedy, basically. Kind of figured out, you need to follow your dreams. You only have one life," said Herndon. "We kind of just put our heads together and found what we love and we love coffee so we decided to open a coffee shop."
Herndon said her husband also gave them a big push. He owns American Stitch Lab, next door to Cream.
Before Cream opened, Herndon said DuTrumble taught them how to make the perfect cup. They use his coffee in their store.
"We are all working together, and we are all rising each other up together," said DuTrumble.
"Just to grow the community!" added Herndon.