Social hub adapting to business at a distance

May 20, 2020

May 19, 2020 — In the past few years, local businesses have been pummeled by a series of catastrophic disturbances, from wildfires to power shutoffs to the current pandemic. Small businesses are often especially vulnerable to upset, but sometimes they’re also more nimble. Jon Frech has been one of the owners of Black Oak Coffee Roasters in Ukiah for seven years now. Ordinarily, the cafe is a hub of social and professional activity, with people lounging on couches and easy chairs or putting their heads together for a quiet conversation. Now, masked customers wash their hands outside before entering through the patio and standing six feet apart as they place their orders. Frech spoke about some of the changes he’s been through in the two months during a socially distanced interview, through masks, in a storeroom with an open rollup door.