ROCHESTER, Minn. - Just a few weeks ago, the operations manager at St. James Coffee was preparing to shut down for good after 9 years next month because the shop wasn't bringing in enough money to stay open. But now, you can get your coffee here until at least February.
St. James isn't your typical coffee shop, it's a non-profit and all the employees are volunteers. Even though the shop is considered essential, they decided to temporarily close for 12 weeks just to play it safe and volunteers put in hundreds of hours to update the shop. Manager, Melissa Scaccio, said she can't believe how many people have stepped up to help. "When you kind of run on divine providence, it's just peoples generosity that keeps this open," explained Scaccio. "This is my job and it's kind of scary to think that you might not have one in a couple months and this is by far the most awesome job that I ever had."
Scaccio said the shop barely makes enough money every month, so they normally host a major fundraiser event in May that brings in up to $50,000. But for obvious reasons, that didn't happen this year. St. James Coffee needed $8,000 to be able to stay open though August and they were able to get that. So now, they have a goal of raising enough money to stay open until May for their annual fundraiser.
Scaccio said her faith is what's keeping her spirits high throughout all of this uncertainty, but also, the support from everyone in the community. "I cry a lot. It's really overwhelming," Scaccio explained. "Sometimes a little old lady comes in and gives you 10 bucks and that's what she has to donate and sometimes somebody comes in with a check for a thousand. Both of them hold equal weight because that's what they have to give. It's extremely fulfilling."
St. James is having an event here on Saturday. You can play mini putt-putt, get some free coffee and participate in a silent auction. It starts at 10 a.m. If you would like to donate to the shop, they have a GoFundMe available.