Coronavirus Tales: My new business had to close after only two days

By | March 22, 2020

East Village resident Wilson Johnson, 37, didn’t have the luck of the Irish when he launched the “tailor-made” coffee and snacks joint, Suited, in Manhattan’s Financial District on St. Patrick’s Day. The place was open for just two days before having to close.

My business partner, Andrew Fazio, and I first had the dream of opening a place that serves specialty coffee and amazing food five years ago. Since then, we fool-proofed and branded our concept, put together the capital, signed a lease, designed the place and built it out on our own. We planned to open on St. Patrick’s Day.

We were open for just two days before we knew we couldn’t do this now. John Street was desolate. We tried doing takeout — we had around 25 to 30 people buying coffee each day — but ended up telling our staff that their health and safety was most important and it was time for everyone to be with their families. They will be our first hires once the smoke clears.

Luckily, we hadn’t started serving food yet, so we didn’t lose that.

I haven’t figured out what closing will cost us, but no doubt this is a crushing blow to our dreams. It has taken everything we have to formulate what we think is the most beautiful cafe in New York City — and still will be on the other side of this snafu.

For now I’m headed to my native Georgia to spend time with those closest to me.

Read more stories about surviving the coronavirus pandemic.

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