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Pivoting in a pandemic – how Sunday Silence Coffee Co. was born 

March 2020, Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, the world seemed to come to a halt with the spread of a global pandemic – The Coronavirus (COVID19). 


Mike and Amelia Bishop had enjoyed much success and led a busy pace of life with their 3-year old coffee shop, The Barn Coffee & Social House (Mahone Bay). All was well until the Spring of 2020 when the Coronavirus took hold of the entire globe and things began to change rapidly. What was commonly a full house in a restored century old barn, became an empty space with a take-out window that met the sidewalk of Main Street. It was a scary and heart-wrenching time for the couple and their community, as they felt the major impact it would have on everyone and all the businesses they loved. The entire reason for their existence was to hold a space for the community to gather, yet, due to the safety restrictions, customers had to engage from the other side of the glass. For months this continued until late May/early June and gradually the space opened up for patrons to return inside. This challenge led to an opportunity for doing business differently. 


It was perfectly clear during that time, adaptability and lean business would be essential to stay alive.  Avoiding staff layoffs, the couple knew they would have to shift in new directions so their business could hang on. Fortunately, one of the areas they were exploring in the fall of 2019 (for what they thought was a 3-year business plan), was coffee roasting. Their friends owned a beautiful fire engine red, Diedrich coffee roaster. Mike began to learn the art and craft of roasting with the help of Dan. It was time to make the leap and dive into roasting full time. Despite the difficult decisions and adjustments needed to survive during that time, Mike and Amelia found a way to move forward while their customers continued to show up and enjoy the offerings of new roasts each week. Amidst a very uncertain time, Sunday Silence Coffee Co. was born. 


Fast forward several months into the experiment, it was evident that the new roasts were a success. Customers were excited and appreciative of the work being done in the roasting room. Requests of where to buy the coffee online and around the province started coming in. By summer of 2020, the growth potential was realized and soon the Diedrich would be outgrown. 


The couple knew they would need help to take the next step of growing Sunday Silence Coffee Co. Mike envisioned a partnership with friends Terri and Jody who had an equal love for good coffee and saw the potential for Sunday Silence to make its debut to customers province-wide and beyond. 


The team got to work in researching their best options to scale up production and discovered a brand-new Loring roaster (currently the most efficient and eco-friendly machine on the planet), that was manufactured and ready to ship to a business who had opted out due to a change of plans. The fall of 2020 centred around business development and orchestrating the logistics for the new Loring roaster – S15 Falcon to be acquired and shipped. The arrival of the Falcon came a little over a month before Christmas. A miraculous event of 2020. Brand enhancements, a new bag and website began to come together and a list of potential retailers were curated.


The Falcon sits happily at its perch in the newly outfitted roasting room, where the future is bright and the space will soon become a busy production centre. The excitement is building for 2021 as the team anticipates the arrival of new retail bags that will ensure freshness and safety of the precious contents while shipping. Fans of Sunday Silence can look forward to a future coffee subscription service, as well as updates on which retailers will be carrying our various roasts.


So, there you have it, the beginnings of a new coffee roaster in Nova Scotia. What a way to wind down the year and begin the new one. We look forward to sharing our experience with you as we grow in 2021. 

Signing off and sipping Sunday Silence, 

 

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