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'I'm either completely stupid or genius' | Triad small business owners open new establishments during a pandemic

They want others to know it's possible to open a successful business during a pandemic.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Any business owner will tell you, operating during a pandemic is not easy.

So imagine starting a business right now. 

Well, two small businesses in the Triad decided to take the leap of faith.

Ample socially-distanced seating outside and limited seats inside are the things Sean Scott had to consider when opening Known Coffee shop last week.

Credit: Sean Scott
Sean Scott opened up Known Coffee in Winston-Salem during the pandemic.

“So, I'm either completely stupid or genius, so I guess we'll see in about six months,” Scott said.
Scott closed his successful coffee shops in Florida he'd operated for ten years to start fresh in Winston-Salem.

He opened his new shop inside Campus Gas.

“I had been looking at downtown and opening my own shop and had a lease in hand. Then COVID-19 hit,” Scott said. “So I thought it’d be wise not to invest so much money in a start-up right now. That, paired with their location and established brand, was a much smarter move.”  

Credit: Sean Scott
Sean Scott opened up a coffee shop in Winston-Salem during the pandemic. He needed ample space for socially-distanced seating inside his business.

Scott said it's been quite the adjustment opening a shop during a pandemic.

“In Florida, I had a lot of musicians. I had a lot of non-profits doing events. We had block parties,” Scott said. “So all those things are on hold right now.”

Do you love free coffee? Well, we just opened and we'd love to meet ... you so here's our offer to you. Come on in any day before August 24th for your first visit and get a hot or iced coffee on us! No strings attached. Just tell your barista it's your first visit!

David Robertson, co-owner of  The Pipe and Pint, said he and his father transformed a rundown High Point home into a cigar shop.

“It was difficult, I know that,” Robertson said. “But it worked out.”

It took eight months to turn the home along North Main Street into a lounge with a humidor. Here's what it looked like before. 

Credit: David Robertson
Before the transformation of Pipe and Pint cigar shop in High Point

“We went through and demolished some walls and put new flooring down,” Robertson said.

Here's what it turned out to be. 

Credit: WFMY
David Robertson transformed an old High Point home into a cigar shop.

Robertson said helping to revitalize this part of the city is working in their favor, even during trying times.

“We've seen an uptick even though the pandemic is going on,” Robertson said. “People are wanting to enjoy their cigars.”

They're limiting the number of people inside and offering outdoor seating - a fresh business model for businesses both old and new.

Scott is offering an online coffee subscription service for those who aren't ready to get out. 

Both men said they can't wait to host events and expand their offerings.

They want others to know it's possible to open a successful business during a pandemic.

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