HAPEVILLE, Ga. — Jpresso in Hapeville, Georgia is officially open for business.
However, it was not the grand opening small business owner, Christine Ahn, could have ever predicted. With all of the restrictions that come with the Coronavirus pandemic, Ahn had to quickly shift to solely fulfilling pick-up orders, putting her dreams of providing a gathering spot for her neighborhood on hold.
"I don't have any customers right now," Ahn said. "It’s like twelve o'clock or one o'clock, close to one. And, you know, I should have like a lunch rush, but it's pretty bad right now."
Despite the circumstances, she remains hopeful.
“If I don't have hope, I would probably close," Ahn said.
A year and a half of careful planning went into the making of Jpresso. Everything in her shop has a story.
“I have a UGA Coca-Cola bottle there … The flag there. We have a champion [flag] for our United team,” she said, pointing as she described the decorations around her coffee shop. She has been waiting for this moment for years.
“This was my dream. I really wanted to have my own shop as a coffee shop so I can enjoy my coffee and read a book or study," Ahn said.
She told 11Alive no matter what happens, she is here to stay.
“I'm an immigrant. We came to America in 1984. This is where we grew up. We played in the parking lot,” Ahn explained. “My dad first opened the business right next door. So, my dad planted the seed in my sister. Nurtured it and watered in it. And I'm here to bloom. So, I want to bloom the most beautiful flower here, so I can give it back to this community, the very community there who embraced me when we first came here.”
Ahn believes the country will get through this pandemic because, like a good cup of coffee, Americans are strong.
“We overcome a lot of things, right? We survived 9/11. Right? And we thrive … We poured our love on Katrina. We pour out to any kind of events,” Ahn said.
She doesn’t think these coronavirus setbacks will last long term.
“I'm grateful that I actually was able to open even in this crazy time,” she said.