One year after temporarily closing its doors, Perennial Cafe is returning to Franklin Street. Customers will be able to enjoy the cafe's coffee and treats at 401 West Franklin Street by mid-May.
The cafe will be open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Perennial said in a statement that the reopening was influenced by spring optimism and the increased rate of distributed vaccines.
“The pandemic saw the need for dormancy, while the spring brings us back to full bloom!” Perennial said in a press release about reopening.
Perennial, which opened in 2016, serves coffee, tea and pastries. Carrboro Coffee Roasters, a small batch artisan coffee roaster, provides coffee for Perennial and several other Chapel Hill and Carrboro coffee shops.
Carrboro Coffee Roasters President Scott Conary said the pandemic showed the cracks that existed in the coffee business and only made the cracks bigger, forcing shops to instantaneously find new ways to operate. He said he is sure that many customers in the community want at least some aspects of the old coffee shop experience back, but it will take time.
“That’s going to happen going forward, but right away, in order to survive, businesses have to figure out how to make sure that people feel comfortable and confident coming to them,” Conary said.
Perennial said in the statement that the space will remain essentially the same, but function differently due to COVID, with multiple options for ordering and pickup. The first stage of reopening will include only outdoor seating, online ordering and takeout.
There will be a front spot on Franklin Street designated for curbside pickup. The parking lot behind the cafe, off of Kenan Street, will offer the first 15 minutes of parking free for customers to grab their coffee.
UNC sophomore Allyson Latvala said Perennial was one of her favorite coffee shops in Chapel Hill. She said she missed going to Perennial on Sundays, a tradition she kept steady throughout her freshman year.
With limited library space on campus and outdoor seating at coffee shops, Latvala said many coffee shops in Chapel Hill have been crowded.
Perennial's decision to reopen will give her another spot to explore, she said. Latvala said she saw Perennial’s announcement to reopen on Instagram after several people she knew shared it.
“I’m not the only one excited about this,” Latvala said. “A lot of people are looking forward to it.”
Conary said being in a supportive community is an important factor in the survival of coffee shops like Perennial.
“I think, if nothing else, Perennial’s temporary closing makes people pause and be like, it's fortunate that this business is coming back and maybe I'll pay more attention to all the other local small businesses that are around me,” Conary said.