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Open Letter: To our beloved customers

Open Letter: To our beloved customers

It’s been 3 years since I first opened my Kona Coffee in the East Village. I had my ups and downs, my fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. However, the current global pandemic dwarfs — by orders of magnitude — anything I have faced before. The endless fight between the current administration and scientific community continues and we lost more than 180,000 lives — a once-unthinkable toll that now appears to be just the beginning of untold misery in the months ahead as New York City continues to fight on.

During the time our shop was forced to close under lockdown, I had some time to look back and think about what it means to be a small business owner in New York. It made me realize that my business is more than just about the coffee, but that it was about the people, community, and the sense of belonging that customers have at the shop. As the city continues to slowly return to a new normal, our community has relentlessly shown up for us, keeping Kona afloat and our doors open. It is you who allows us to be resilient during this time. Through lockdown, shop closures, broken windows, and outdoor seating, we appreciate each and every individual who has shown us love. Overwhelming support during this difficult time has opened my eyes to what I envision Kona’s future to be: a community-driven coffee shop where people come together.

The first step to further building this community is through our brand new blog hosted right here, on our website. Through blog posts, I want to share not only the coffee knowledge I amassed over the past years but also my personal thoughts and values to share with our beloved Kona community. I hope that everyone will enjoy the recipes and brew guides that encourage home brewing; the discussion about coffee and its unique importance and value to our everyday lives; and a place for Kona to share the things we believe in. These posts serve to inspire conversations around the coffee community and utilize coffee as a vessel for which ideas are exchanged.

Last but not least, 2020 had not only been an important year of reflection on our individual and collective wellbeing, but also a true turning point in the fight for social justice. As an Asian-American small business owner, I deeply understand the importance of representation, diversity, and inclusion. My intention and purpose will forever be to create an inclusive space that welcomes individuals from all walks of life. I stand strong with the Black community in the fight against police brutality, racial injustice, and racial inequality. I hope to not use my words but my actions to demonstrate my intentions, which includes the continued hiring of BIPOC baristas and employees, as well as new initiatives that give back to the local community. I welcome any dialogue and will openly address any issues my fellow New Yorkers may have, and enable my team to continue participating in our community in a significant way.

While 2020 has not been forgiving, this year has already shaped up to include some incredible milestones for Kona. In the span of a year, we have become a roaster, established a specialty coffee offering, and launched our eCommerce platform, just to name a few. As we look forward to the last few months of what has been a truly challenging year, we hope to continue to grow into our new identity and continue to give back to our community while serving the highest quality coffee.

Stay safe and hope to see you in our shop soon!


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