Peoria coffee shop shuts down during pandemic, young entrepreneur gets creative

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GERMANTOWN HILLS, Ill. (WMBD) — Even on gloomy days, Emily Hartter is bringing customers in the community a “cup of Joe” with joy.

“I’ve always loved coffee and the idea of having a mobile unit where we can take coffee to people just kind of is like a whole new avenue,” she said.

At just 21-years-old, Hartter owns Faire Coffee: a mobile coffee camper that travels across Central Illinois. Months ago, the budding entrepreneur even started expanding to a brick and mortar store at Peoria’s Shoppes at Grand Prairie. She was scheduled to open in March, but COVID-19 and the state’s stay-at-home order changed those plans.

“We did have a soft opening. We were open for about 10 days, until March 15 where we had to shut down.”

emily hartter

The news came as a moment of defeat.

“It was very stressful and very discouraging. I mean with anyone you have a dream and then it’s just kind of like this door in your face. But you know there’s nothing really you can do about it, except just try to find the positive and move forward,” she said.

Hartter credits her faith for helping her power through the uncertainty of the future.

“Ultimately I knew like God was going to be faithful and everything is going to be okay. But just that feeling of helplessness like ‘What do I do?’ What am I supposed to do?’” she said.

But Hartter didn’t give up. She said with the support of her staff, family and customers, she’s been able to come up with some creative alternatives instead of serving in her storefront. The Faire Coffee team offers deliveries now and partners with local businesses to set up her mobile camper outside.

“Really, it’s been a blessing almost for us just to have a time to kind of re-figure how we want to do our business and how we can best serve others,” said Hartter.

Hartter said her storefront will reopen, but the timeline is unknown. She shares this message for those in similar struggling situations:

“I would say try to find the positive. I know that sounds kind of cliché sometimes because there are some days I’m like ‘I don’t want to find the positive,'” she laughed. “But I mean in every situation there is good. And good can come from it.”

For more information, visit Faire Coffee’s website.

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