Let’s face it: the pandemic has changed everything. Everything. (Don’t stop reading. We promise this post isn’t going to be whiny. In fact, it’s kind of nice. And it’s about you.)
It’s hard to remember it was only about a year ago that everything went sideways, and we at Sip found ourselves going through the five stages of grief, sort of:
- Denial — COVID wasn’t going to be all that bad. Maybe it was like the flu. It would probably be over quickly. We’d be able to get back to normal soon.
- Anger — Yes, anger. We’d only been around since 2014, when we opened the Coffee and Beer House in Scottsdale. The Coffee and Beer Garage in Arcadia was only five years old. So … yeah, we were angry.
- Bargaining — OK, we didn’t really do any bargaining. Who were we going to bargain with, a virus? The gods/fates/higher powers? None of these have traditionally shown much interest in bargaining.
- Depression — Sure, we were depressed sometimes. Worried, too. Just like you were.
- Acceptance — Yup. At some point, we accepted, adapted, and got on with business.
In some ways, it was that last part — adapting and “getting on with business” — that was hardest for us. Because when you’re a restaurant that people can’t come to, there’s only one option. And …
“Order Sip kitchen takeout” wasn’t part of our business plan
When we created the first Sip, it was with a pretty simple idea: We wanted to create the best version of our own favorite hangouts; the places where we’ve loved spending time eating, drinking, laughing and connecting throughout our lives. So our mission statement was, and is, pretty simple:
“Cultivate community with great music and specialty drinks, coffee, beer, cocktails and food.”
Not a major, earth-shaking manifesto, is it? Because that’s not what we were after. We weren’t out to change the world. Just a little part of it. Your part.
Yes, we were trying to create the best version of our own favorite hangouts, but not for ourselves. We’re not trying to get all Mother Teresa here. Hey, we are a business; we still wanted to make a buck or two. But we wanted to create that favorite hangout for you and your friends and all of the new friends all of you could make at your new favorite hangout.
That’s why, in our mission statement, we’re inviting people to come together around food and drinks and music, but the first two words — the most important words — are “cultivate community.” That’s what we’d been doing since 2014. And it was working, as you can tell from awards with names like “Hottest restaurant” and “Top 10 places to see”; “Best bar,” “Best coffee shop,” “Break-out star,” “7 best places.”
Then … COVID.
It’s hard to digitize coffee and beer
We know many of you had to move your work life online a year ago. Now, Zoom is second-nature to a lot of us. Maybe you’re even part of a Zoom community that has sprung up to fill in the gap of the in-person communities you were part of.
But that doesn’t work for our Sip community. Sip has become what the sociologist, Roy Oldenburg, called a “third place.” Home and work are the first two. It’s our third places that are most important to our well-being and enjoyment of life.
You know only too well that looking at your friends or family on the screen isn’t even close to as enjoyable as looking at them across a table of coffee or drinks and good food. Sure, you can sort-of virtually share a meal — two of you or a whole group eating and drinking at the same time and watching each other do it on your monitors. But … not even close to the real thing. And when you were sitting at a table at Sip, did you ever have to tell your table companion, “You’re on mute”?
Not the same.
But still, we knew there was a Sip community that missed being a community. So we created an “Order Sip kitchen online” option. It’s the best we could do until things get back to normal. (Yeah, this is starting to sound a little whiny but stay with us.)
It’s the best we could do. And you know what we found out?
The Sip community is also an “Order Sip kitchen takeout” community
This is the part that’s so cool to us. The thing we’re so grateful for. The response that, really, made us feel much better about the future. We took Sip online, and you responded. Lots and lots of you. Even with the restrictions and, let’s face it, worries about maintaining a Sip community we experienced over the past year, you showed us you still wanted to be part of it.
We learned that “community” isn’t always about face-to-face; that the center of a community can be online, sometimes; that the spirit of a community is something you can experience and share virtually.
It was very cool when we pushed the button on the “order Sip kitchen online” option and, wow! You did! And you are. But even better than that, some of you … a lot of you … have taken the time to get in touch and say things like:
- “Thanks for letting us order Sip kitchen takeout.”
- “It’s not the same as coming to the House or the Garage, but …
- “It’s a great service, and …
- “It’ll do until everything’s back to normal, and we can get out as often as we want with friends, because …
- “We miss Sip!”
So this post is to say, Sip misses you, too. And it means a lot to us that, even if you’re not here as often as you used to be, you’re still a community.
Things will get back to normal soon, so for now, if you’re not comfortable getting out as much as you like, keep that “Order Sip kitchen online” option in mind. And keep in touch!
Even when that “touch” is only fingers on a keypad.