Comma Coffee in Carson City is like an unofficial breakroom for US staffers, lobbyists, and lawmakers at the time of the Legislature being in session. While this time may generally be a good thing for business, the owner of the café June Joplin has her doubts about that due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As for Joplin, knowing how much of a boost it will be is difficult. The owner had to terminate many of her workers since the customer count has gone down in the epidemic period.
While the Legislature’s four-month-long, biennial session started in February first week, it will not be the usual busy place in terms of activity. Only staffers, legislators, and some reporters can access the statehouse. There were similar restrictions for some special sessions in 2020, as well.
The legislative session would have usually resulted in a big boost for business. As for Joplin, that is a case of Christmas coming early. As early as July, it must be said. This year, though, the session caused a minor temporary change in sales, said Joplin.
With the new session getting underway, she and those who own other businesses around the US statehouse are hoping for good luck, but initial reports are discouraging.
The Carson City Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, Ronni Hannaman, said there is no longer the usual buzz around the session. Hannaman said that Carson Street near the US Capitol Building has significantly less activity than usual. She urged caution when driving about the city’s Third Street zone because staffers, lobbyists, or lawmakers always walk across it to get together and dine. There is no such thing this year, said Hannaman.
The Fox Brewpub’s general manager, Melody Demuth, stated that there was no significant boost in sales due to the special legislative sessions. Demuth always observes when legislators are in session, and is always happy to have them as customers.
Brennan Best works as marketing director at Reno Local Food Group. For your information, the restaurant group owns not only The Union brewery but also Cucina Lupo, two establishments near the legislative property.
Best said that both restaurants expect a sales boost from the US Legislature, albeit it is a less-than-usual improvement. He said that there are ‘increased numbers’ yearly whenever legislators visit. Their visits boost their lunches, after which they usually provide some catering menu.
While the restaurants do not stay afloat through the Legislature, this event could contribute to their financial results, said Best. Unfortunately, restaurant businesses in the United States of America have experienced a declined in business due to the coronavirus epidemic. That may be why a restaurant operator such as Best was hoping for a significant business boost.
Joplin celebrated 20 years of Comma Coffee in 2020. She said that the extra earnings at the time of the sessions could help pay for projects about the café. She said that she only partly depends on the legislation-related session and partly not, because it is just a biennial event.