Surviving and Thriving through the pandemic

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Taking it one day at a time is what owner Shannon Cornelius did during the pandemic. Not knowing what was going to happen next, she was not giving up without a swing. Yellow Bike was started in 2017 and has built its presence in Hermantown and Duluth.

When the covid-19 spread started to grow quickly. Cornelius seemed to have the same thoughts that other business owners had about if they were going to close. “Literally every month, were like..well, this might be our last month. Idk, well this might be our last month, but people kept showing up, and we just kept surviving to the point where then we started thriving."

The pandemic cause some to sink and stay afloat while debating about their future. "I knew if why shut our doors; we would probably never open them again, expressed Cornelius. So, we just thought well; do we go mobile, what do we do, and I remember thinking…If Yellow Bikes is going down, at least let’s just go down surviving our community."

They didn’t go down; Cornelius said they survived and thrived. "We kinda made it through covid just doing anything we could because we said we have to keep our product quality good, we have to keep surviving our community, and we have to keep being a place that is just a touch of sanity, for people."

During covid, the company had some bumps in the road that they faced, like the building they are occupying. “Our lease had expired during covid, and our landlord has been great to us, and we had a really good relationship. I said, I cannot sign a lease if we do not know if we are going to survive over covid, mentioned Cornelius. He totally got it and said we will do it month to month. We are thriving and surviving during Christmas, and I am like..“hey, can we do a lease agreement extension at that point; things changed in their world; and the economy around here, and dint have an opportunity to have that discussion."

Along with that, they also faced some shortages in employees. “Staffing was tricky, trying to keep Fitgers open. Sometimes we had to have people come to the Hermantown location. Fitgers was just closed down for a while,” said Marketing manager Kiel Jakubse.

With the bond of the community, they have pushed through it all and built more of a family with everyone that comes through their doors.
"People come in here, and this is their touch point for love. This is their touch point for just good stuff. If you sit in here long enough throughout the day, people all the time say, I had no idea like all this stuff happens, Cornelius described. I’m like, I know; this is not about coffee. Yes, we serve really good coffee and food, and that is a non-negotiable, but it has to be more than just good coffee and good food."

Yellow bike is currently in the process of relocating to a bigger space. The main shop location in Hermantown will be open until Tuesday, June 28th. The hours are from 7 am until 4:30 pm. The Fitger’s location will move to summer hours starting July 1st from 7 am 6 pm. Update information and more can be found on their website, and their social media platforms.