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Winter comes with more pain in local restaurant industry

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 4:50 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As winter approaches, the outlook is worse than it’s been in months within some industries, including some small local businesses in Wichita.

At Placeholder Coffee in downtown Wichita, co-owner Ian Miller is happy to see business, but its sister store, Little Lion Cafe, on the east side at 2721 E. Central, is making the difficult decision to hibernate this winter.

“Little Lion has been our baby. This was our first business, and so it’s tough and disappointing,” Miller said.

After constant adjustments to safely operate during the pandemic, he said the winter months are some of the slowest.

“We are just going to take some time to step back and figure out what our next step is here,” Miller said.

Across town at Ecclesia Coffee, at 7130 W. Maple, owner Rochelle Stroh is getting ready for her last week of business. Stroh said she decided months ago not to re-sign her lease as personal protection equipment (PPE) loans and CARES Act funding is drying up.

“Now we are tapering off those benefits and kind of having to get back on our own two feet. So at this point, if we had already not made the decision, we probably still would have still closed,” she said.

Stroh said until her shop’s last day, she’ll take any business she can get.

“None of us are prepared for this, so I think we just all have to find that hope,” she said.

Miller said it’s up in the air as to when Little Lion will close. This weekend, the cafe will be open Saturday and Sunday for customers to pick up last-minute goodies and say goodbye.

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