Photos Andy Calvert
Since 2012 Swift & Finch Coffee has been serving up cups of fresh roasted goodness to java aficionados and those just in need of good tasting wake up call. While many still remember Clyde Collier Photography holding down the corner of Broad Street and 6th Avenue, Swift & Finch wasted no time becoming a staple of the look and feel of downtown Rome.
Like most currently in the food and beverage industry, the team at Swift had to adapt quickly to the ever-changing landscape when it came to serving those brave enough to venture out of their homes to get a cup of coffee. And like most, they found a way to rise to the challenge in the face of adversity in a multitude of ways.
With expansion plans in the works before the pandemic hit, they made the best of the situation by completing the louder aspects of that work while the dining area was forced to be closed. They also purchased a second roaster that was delivered during the shutdown, and some big changes are on the horizon that will improve the customer experience when the new normal finally arrives.
While dining areas and patio service were shut down, operating hours adjusted and staff cut to the minimum needed to service their customers, Romans continued to find ways to support the local roasters by purchasing their favorite drinks, bagged coffee to brew at home, and Swift and Finch apparel like t-shirts and tumblers. The support was undoubtedly appreciated.
“The support from our customers and the community in general has been overwhelming,” says Manager Mark McLucas. “We have lost revenue like just about every business, but people have gone out of their way to come in and give us their business. We have always appreciated that, but it’s hard not to appreciate it even more in these times.”
That support helps keep the doors open, but more importantly it has kept the staff working.
“We were fortunate that this hit during a transition period for us so a lot of our staff who didn’t necessarily need to work or had this as a 2nd job opted to go home and shelter in place with their families. That allowed those who had this as their primary source of income to keep working so the timing in that sense was good.”
Early on, the team at Swift made moves to get their coffee to their customers instead of waiting for them to come to the shop, via what they dubbed neighborhood van runs where they would load up their one-of-a-kind mobile unit and drive to subdivisions and small communities to sell coffee to those residents.
“Those trips have been really rewarding,” says McLucas. “We use social media to gage the interest in us bringing the van out and while it’s great to sell a few cups of coffee, it’s been the reactions of the people we are serving that will stay with me. We have had people tell us thank you because it was the first time they’ve spoken to a neighbor in a month or just one of their first times interacting with someone outside of their house in a while. That makes it worth the drive every time.”
So whether they come to your neighborhood or you visit them on Broad Street, Swift & Finch is open and ready to safely serve.