Wife and husband team Rachel and Tim Ward knew they wanted to start a business together in Old Town Goleta. On New Years Day of 2018 they walked up and down Hollister street and realized there was no coffee shop so they just “went for it,” Rachel said. Now three years later, Old Town Coffee is still family owned and operated by the Wards, two of their adult children, and other dedicated employees.
“Our business plan has always been to embrace our community and to give back. One way we do this is by supporting other local businesses. Almost everything we bring in to sell is from local bakeries or home-permitted kitchens. Our operational support professionals, like our accountant, bookkeeper, and payroll service are also local individuals,” explained Rachel.
Old Town Coffee, like many other small to mid-size businesses in the region, had to pivot their operations multiple times during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Wards are proud that they never had to close doors and did not have to lay off any employees thanks to a Small Business Administration backed Paycheck Protection Program loan, the community and support from loyal patrons.
“In the beginning [of the pandemic] people were buying gift cards for large amounts to support us. I believe this was happening with a lot of local businesses to help them keep their doors open,” explained Rachel.
When the coffee shop was open for take-out only, having Cox Business Internet powering their point of sale system was a lifeline to serving customers in a touchless environment. Further, as state mandates lifted, the Wards were able to extend their patio in January to accommodate more customers for outside dining. This patio also allowed Old Town Coffee to host community events, live music, Bingo and trivia nights and fundraisers for local nonprofits. Aligned with their business plan to support local, they were also able to partner with food trucks for these popular outdoor gatherings.
As of mid-summer, Old Town Coffee has been open for inside dining as well and Rachel says that Cox Business Wifi allows the coffee shop to have upwards of “150 devices online at one time” which is usually correlated to the large college student populations that frequents the shop for studying, meetings, and to take online classes.
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