TACOMA - The sound of a foamy fresh beer being pouring from the tap and a customer grabbing a cold mug and taking their seat: they are sights and sounds that staff at Seven Seas brewery in Tacoma have greatly missed.
"This feels like an incredible step forward," says co-founder Mike Runion. Runion says by no means does this get them out the deep financial hole most every business has been dug into.
"It is not enough for most small businesses to succeed, but at the same time this is progress and progress is an incredible sight to be seen and it gives hope to a lot of us."
Hope is what many small business owners are hanging onto these days, but today it’s different. Getting to allow customers back indoors, up to 25% capacity has many saying it feels like there’s an end in sight.
"It feels so good to be open, it's been a long time coming," says Bryan Reynolds, co-founder and CEO of Anthem Coffee.
Reynolds and his family have built Anthem Coffee from the ground up, starting with their flagship location in Puyallup, to opening eight locations.
"We're safer than we've ever been, cleaner than we've ever been and we're excited to serve people."
Some call their shops "the living room of Puyallup."
Customers love the coffee, but the ambiance is what draws many in.
"When somebody comes in they have their mask on and they place their order, but the moment they sit down and have their coffee in front of them and the mask comes off, you’re able to see faces smiling again and enjoying the shop as it was intended to be enjoyed. It gives me hope for the future for sure," says Reynolds.
At 25% capacity, it’s still very tough to make any profit. But today Reynolds isn’t dwelling on that. As the shop closes, he’s soaking up the sense of normalcy today has brought with it.
"To be able to see people back inside, hanging out, having bible studies, having meetings, doing school work-this is why we opened and it feels great to sort of get this thing kicking again."
Reynolds is an optimist, but he admits things aren’t easy. It’s a possibility his family could have to shut down a location or two. He hopes that anyone listening will take this message to heart: "Please support local. More so now than ever. If you live local then love local by shopping local."