Despite tough times, Raleigh couple opens Raleigh coffee shop The Optimist

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Opening a new business is typically packed with stress. You spend long hours getting a space ready and shell out tens of thousands of dollars. The challenge is only intensified when you're trying to do this during a pandemic.

A husband-and-wife duo has been working throughout the novel coronavirus crisis on their coffee shop, The Optimist.

The couple left their jobs as wedding photographers. They signed a lease mid-February and a few weeks later, something was brewing - but it wasn't coffee, it was COVID-19.

"We were like basically going a hundred miles an hour and then everything closed down," co-owner Robyn Buchholz said.

Places were closing and people were hunkering down at home, including her husband and co-owner, Andrew Ward.

"I'm one of those immune-compromised people so that kind of put a pause on everything," he said.

Opening day was pushed back, but The Optimist is finally open. Staffers are only taking orders curbside or at the walk-up window.

There is a limited menu and limited store hours.

Concerns remain about opening a small business during a crisis, even one as aptly named as The Optimist.

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"It's definitely a huge worry of ours. We were definitely expecting to ramp up, open to a grand opening or something like that," Ward said. "It's not happening anymore."

But the couple has faith and there's some irony in the name they picked.

They both consider themselves optimists and are hoping those positive vibes carry them through.

"We got that attitude," Ward said.

"We're optimistic," Buchholz added.

The takeaway -- you can stop by and grab coffee, helping to get the small business off the ground.

Optimist Coffee is at 1000 Brookside Drive, near Oakwood Park, in Raleigh.

The owners are trying to give back during this time. They're offering coffee at 50 percent off for first responders and health care workers.
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