Cali Coffee: Uniting a community one sip at a time

Shianne Salazar
Hollywood, Florida
3 p.m. Monday, March 30, 2020

Cali Coffee: Uniting a Community One Sip at a Time

Every break from school I resume working at Cali Coffee, a drive-through espresso bar located off the I-95 exit on Sheridan Street in Hollywood, Florida. Though the circumstances that led to the one-week extension of my spring break were tragic and unusual, the environment at Cali Coffee was just as exuberant and optimistic as ever.

“We’re never going to close,” said co-owner Rose White to a customer who expressed his shock at our regular buisness hours. “We’re take-out only, so we’ll be fine,” White said, referring to the recent switch from dine-in to take-out that has swept restaurants and small buisnesses across the globe.

Cali Coffee, however, has always existed as take-out only. There are two windows — a walk-up and drive-through- and just three benches placed on the outside.

But size does not equate might, as Cali Coffee has grown exponentially since first opening in September 2018. Already a popular spot for young people and families in the community, this one-off local coffee shop has gained another recent boost in business, and it’s all because of the coronavirus.

Lately, customer reactions have varied from slight shock at our hours to absolute delight.

“If you weren’t open, I’d be going stir crazy,” said Patrick, a frequent customer on his third visit of the day.

From 5:30 a.m. to10 p.m. Monday through Sunday, Cali Coffee has seen a non-stop influx of traffic surrounding the shop. For a local business, especially in times of a crisis, this sounds nothing short of fantastic.

It’s even more impressive when you take into consideration that the city of Hollywood currently accounts for the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Florida. Still, Cali Coffee looks good to the community right now. We’re a local hotspot that’s dedicated to keeping the city hopeful during times of great uncertainty.

The official Instagram page boasts more than 6,000 followers and is flooded with tagged posts by happy customers and pictures of pretty lattes with inspirational captions.

About a week ago, founder and co-owner Craig Avera announced that March 18 – 25 doctors and nurses can have their order, of any drink and any size, totally free of charge as a thank you for all their efforts. Going forward their drinks will be marked one dollar off.

Last weekend we announced we would be selling goods from Pink Pie, a Miami-based bakery self-proclaimed as the “original mini pie company,” because it had closed its two locations due to the pandemic.

During times of crisis, communities need to be able to rely on the good faith of companies like Cali Coffee, but with Broward County’s recent stay-at-home order and curfew, the future of even the most resilient small business may soon be tested once again.

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