ALBERT LEA, Minnesota - Some businesses are facing a stark reality during the pandemic. While some are trying to ride out the storm, the uncertainty is already causing others to shut down.
Recently, Godfather's Pizza announced they would be closing up shop in Albert Lea after 34 years.
Now, Cabin Coffee has become the latest business to close their doors: what was initially a temporary closure due to the pandemic, the store's franchisees announced this week that the closure would instead be permanent, with a search for a buyer currently underway.
All of this is happening despite a large outpouring of support from the community.
"It's really a strong community presence that we lose a piece of when a business closes. It's sad for everyone."
Torrey Zimmerman is the interim Director of the Albert Lea Chamber of Commerce.
"It's always unfortunate when a business feels that they have to close their doors. Our primary purpose is to create a better environment for businesses to exist and grow and thrive. Any time a business feels like they have to shutter their doors, it's sad from our perspective, and from the community perspective as well."
He's noticed more businesses are inquiring about federal programs like those under the recently passed 'CARES Act' to help keep them in business.
"Local lenders are seeing SBA loans and payroll preservation loans, the PPP program we've heard about, that are really designed to provide funding for the short term and the interim to keep businesses, not just from going under, but also to keep them to continue employment."
With many businesses facing economic uncertainty, could we see a recovery in business after the pandemic ends? Zimmerman is optimistic.
"I think we'll see a bounce back. We live in a part of a country that's resourceful and people function in community very, very well."
"We're sad that they are having to make the decision they are, and we appreciate so much for what they've done for the community. They have been outside of their shop, they've been involved in a lot of different ways in the community, and the work they've poured into it. We feel badly for them, and we hope they'll be able to figure something out, and wish them the absolute best in everything in the future for them."
In a statement, Godfather's franchise president Brad Price said, "we've battled floods, the availability of workforce is a constant concern, and how with the economic uncertainty, I felt the time had come to close the doors."
For Cabin Coffee members, any money on club cards, gift certificates, or points can be redeemed at any other Cabin Coffee location or online.