Owners of Phoenixville’s Steel City Coffeehouse: ‘You Have to Take Risks to Keep Your Business Going’

Image of Laura Vernola and Ed Simpson via Steel City Coffeehouse.

Despite the pandemic and significantly reduced revenue, the owners of Phoenixville’s Steel City Coffeehouse continue to invest in their business, writes Jeff Blumenthal for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Laura Vernola and Ed Simpson purchased the coffeehouse and live music venue four years ago. Right away, they invested $100,000 in an on-site nano-brewery. Profitability was steadily improving, before their momentum hit a wall in March, when they had to close due to COVID-19.

“We were set to have our best year ever because of the brewery,” said Vernola. “But no one is buying beer now” with limited guests and no concerts.

So the pair decided to switch gears. They applied for and received PPP loans and used the enhanced finances to boost their inventory and began offering curbside pickup and outdoor dining. They also invested in a beer crowler system and added a food pantry in September that offers items by food artisans from around the country.

“We are investing because we believe you have to take risks to keep your business going,” Vernola said. “We have to make it work here.”

Read more about Steel City Coffeehouse in the Philadelphia Business Journal here.

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