• January 17, 2019

French Press Café staying open - Odessa American: Business

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French Press Café staying open

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Posted: Friday, January 4, 2019 3:00 pm

It was in October when French Press Café Owner Kristel Tate announced she was shutting down her downtown business for good. But thanks to a surge of support, they’re staying open and looking to make some improvements.

Tate cited a short staff as one of the main reasons French Press Café, 511 N. Grant Ave., had initially closed, which affected how often they could stay open and drum up business on a consistent basis. But thanks to a slight dip in oil prices, Tate said they were able to hire a few more staff members, and social media attention from their announced closure made them busier than ever.

“The main reason is we got a lot of support from the community, everybody was like ‘please don’t go,’” Tate said. “We were super busy for like two weeks after all of the media attention.”

One of the big reasons they were suffering, despite the outpouring of support, was due to a lack of activity downtown, Tate said.

“There’s no rhyme or reason, there just hasn’t been a trend,” Tate said. “The community does want us here, they just for whatever reason aren’t going down there.”

French Press Café first made news in February 2016 when they were the first business to receive a downtown infrastructure grant of $51,546 from the Odessa Development Corporation.

Tate said they had conducted a Facebook poll on their page to see what they were doing wrong, and many members of the community told them they just didn’t have a good reason to go downtown.

“My response was, hopefully that’s changing,” Tate said. “With the revitalization of Odessa downtown, hopefully there will be more down here.”

But while waiting for that revitalization to actually take effect, Tate said they are making a few changes to develop a larger customer base. The café will soon begin implementing full-service catering and start renting out the building for events such as baby showers and birthday parties. They are also providing free delivery to anyone downtown for orders of $20 or more.

As well as these improvements, Tate said they are working to make sure the public is aware of some of their more convenient services. They offer delivery through the food deliver app Favor, and through another delivery app called Waitr which will be coming to Odessa at the end of January. French Press Café also offers 10 percent discounts to Medical Center Hospital, Odessa Regional Medical Center, and ECISD employees. First responders are also given free drinks and a 10 percent discount on food.

“We have regulars that are there every day, we just need more people to come and try it,” Tate said.

Tate said they are also looking at adjusting their hours due to mornings not being as busy as afternoons, and possibly also opening on Sundays because of how successful their Saturday brunch hours are.

“The downtown Odessa development is going to pick up and go, so we think since we put everything in it — heart, blood, soul, sweat, tears — we owe it to ourselves and the community to at least see it through the next year or so and see what’s gonna happen,” Tate said. “If we don’t have the support of the community, we may be forced into the situation where we are forced to make the hard decision again, but right now we’re all in.”

Currently, the French Press Café is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

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