One Year Later
March 23, 2020 was when things got real. The weeks leading up to that day are a bit of a blur and the year following is definitely a blur but that day is one we won't forget. The week earlier, we had started to close down the Caffe Divano's as our staff's anxiety and stress reached peak levels and we knew we pretty much had no choice but to close our doors. It's hard to explain the emotions attached to closing down something that we have spent over twenty years fighting to keep open, but there we were. And then the unknown of what was to come certainly heightened our stress. With the Divano's closed and so much uncertainty around whether we'd be able to keep Gabi & Jules open we ultimately made the decision to lay off all but one from our entire team.
So, we went from having 71 to 1 employee on March 23rd. Making phone calls to each staff member was incredibly heart-wrenching as we didn't know how long we'd be saying goodbye for and many had been with us for many years. And what ultimately made it even more emotional was the fact that every one we spoke to were more concerned about us than themselves.
So then there was one, our head baker Megan. The shirt she wore on the first day of it being just her and me kinda sums it up perfectly - "Bake it til you make it." And that's what we did. There was a quick pivot to exclusively online sales, opening only three days a week for pick-ups, starting home deliveries, adding groceries to our product line-up, selling a ridiculous amount of yeast(!), re-opening the Divano's after about a month, quickly building a new website and then, bit by bit we were able to bring back our team members.
And this is where the tremendous amount of gratitude comes in. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support we've received over the past year. From words of encouragement, friends volunteering to help us with deliveries, family helping us every Saturday for months on end and to unbelievable regular customers who placed orders often. All of this helped us to fight on, work harder and continue to find ways to make the new Gabi & Jules experience, while different, still one that delivers on the quality and deliciousness we have always strived for.
Your support throughout this year meant that we have been able to hire back almost everyone and we are so grateful. Thank you! We will continue our commitment to crafting delicious baked goodness that provides comfort and a moment of joy in your day. We are inspired by the increasing sentiment throughout our community about how shopping local makes a real difference and this year is truly a testament to that fact. Without your support us and so many other local businesses, wouldn't have been able to weather a year filled with so many obstacles and challenges.
From our family & our team here at Gabi & Jules - our sincere thanks!