Garden Coffee encourages community to help businesses bloom amid pandemic
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Jess Hainsworth had no idea when she began dreaming up the idea to expand her thrift store, Honest Thrift Studio, into a coffee shop that the grand opening date would happen amid the peak of a global pandemic.
“I was already eight months in financially, mentally, with my heart, so when everything came together for it to open in June, I went for it,” Hainsworth said. “We were able to open well, mainly because of the people who showed up, repeatedly, to buy the lattes and the baked goods but also because we’re 100% outside. Even if we had wanted to put a seat indoors, we do not have a spot to sit someone inside.”
Defying all the odds, with a little luck and crediting the good people she had met through Honest Thrift Studio, Hainsworth soon realized that the friendships cultivated at one store would quickly grow to fill Garden Coffee.
“This space is small, Honest Thrift Studios is a tiny little treasure trove, but the people who come in here and the connections that are made are not small, so Garden Coffee is a way to extend that experience,” Hainsworth said.
The extension of her community is only separated by a few steps. The now sister-stores operate in a way that makes you feel like you’re welcome and supported whether you have four legs or two.
“Bringing people close together is one of Jess’s many skills and this just feels like home,” said Ryan Bower a Garden Coffee customer. “I think it’s important to come here and see yes, we are in a pandemic right now, but there’s going to be a life afterward and this is kind of what we’re in the middle of when we’re here.”
There’s an Audrey Hepburn quote written above one of the many tables decorated with all the things you would imagine could fill Garden Coffee shop. It reads, ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.’ That is exactly the atmosphere the owner is hoping to create.
“You know people had been cooped up in their homes, they needed a place to go but they didn’t need a fancy place to go, there’s enough of those places in the world where you’ve gotta worry about what you’re wearing, or how you’re acting,” Hainsworth said. “People don’t really care what they’re sitting on, what they’re eating on, they care who they’re sitting with and who they are sharing their treat with.”
From ironing board tables to completely thrifted chairs, Hainsworth encourages other aspiring business owners to try and think of the best way to cut costs in order to create an environment that’s focused solely on the people. She said opening amid a pandemic was never her plan, but it’s proven to be the best decision for her. Now she calls on San Diegans to support small businesses and help keep people’s doors open.
“I want to encourage people to use the hard-earned money that you have in places that you want to continue to see thrive,” Hainsworth said. “I like to think of money as seeds, so wherever you plant those seeds, those are the businesses you’re going to see blooming in the months and years to come.”
If you want to support Garden Coffee, they are open Tuesday through Saturday form 9:00AM to 3:00PM. They are located at 2611 Congress St. San Diego, CA. Hainsworth says whether you decide to shop at her coffee or thrift store, she urged you to support small businesses.