Dereck Run is always excited to greet customers and provide a boost to their mornings, but now there are fewer customers to serve.
Many local businesses have closed due to the recent stay-at-home order caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, Cafe Latte Co., a local coffee shop in Galt, has remained open for business and ready to bring residents some comfort in the form of coffee, Run says.
Run, 55, said that first task was to build a sense of community between him and his customers from the moment he opened Cafe Latte Co. back in 1995. Twenty-five years later, Run has continued to build his relationships with his customers through his friendliness and says that they’re like family to him.
“We treat everyone like our own family,” Run said. “We sit down and chit-chat with customers. It’s the way we are.”
Cafe Latte Co. has been family owned since it first opened and prides itself on making the community feel like part of that family.
Run’s younger brother, 34-year-old Peter, has been working at Cafe Latte Co. since he was a kid and says that the best part about working there has been the atmosphere that Dereck provides.
Peter says that working with Run is “all business” and describes him as professional when working behind the counter.
“The customer is not just another customer,” Peter said. “He really gets to know them.”
Peter said that Run remembers his customers’ names, whether they’ve been coming in for a week or 10 years.
Run was inspired by the vast amount of coffee shops in Seattle and wanted to bring some of that flavor back to Galt.
Run is always looking to add to Cafe Latte Co. by experimenting with different drinks that he comes up with to keep his shop unique.
“We don’t just follow the original recipe,” Run said. “We just add a little bit more stuff to it and make it our own.”
Run has had major success with his experimental drinks, such as the Winterberry White that is made with chocolate Milano, white chocolate and raspberry.
Small-business owners have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and Run said that his coffee shop has been affected tremendously due to the stay-at-home order.
Run said that there has been a 40% drop in customers within the past month and has had to make changes to Cafe Latte Co.
Run said that he had to shorten the hours at Cafe Latte Co. and is working to make his shop safe by practicing social distancing.
“People can call and pick up an order to-go,” Run said.
Though business has been down recently, Cafe Latte Co. has been able to stay open because of the loyal customers who have built a relationship with Run.
Tyler Duren, a Galt resident and an employee at the Save Mart across the street, said that he’s been going to Cafe Latte since it first opened.
“I usually go every day that I have work,” Duren said. “Before work, I sit in my car and drink my coffee.”
He said that the friendly environment that Run provides separates Cafe Latte Co. from other coffee shops.
“When I call to place an order, he knows it’s me,” said Duren, who always orders the same drink. “He remembers my drink order exactly how I like it.”
Even with Cafe Latte Co. losing business, Run said that his primary focus is his customers’ health and safety.
“This is something we all have to take with some precaution and help prevent the spread,” he said.
Run said that he can’t wait to see all of his customers again.
“I miss the interaction with my customers and hope this ends soon,” Run said.
Café Latté Co. is located at 1000 C Street, suite 70 in Galt.