Saturday, September 19, 2020

Person of the Week

Eric Ciolino: Creating Community through Coffee

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Eric Ciolino loves coffee and loves bikes, which makes the free local delivery service his shop One World Coffee Roasters is offering during the pandemic a win for him and his customers. Photo courtesy of Eric Ciolino

Eric Ciolino loves coffee and loves bikes, which makes the free local delivery service his shop One World Coffee Roasters is offering during the pandemic a win for him and his customers. (Photo courtesy of Eric Ciolino )

For Eric Ciolino, coffee started as a warm wakeup call on chilly mornings ahead of a landscaping shift. Over time though, it became a much larger fixture in his life.

“I developed a love for really good coffee but it wasn’t always easy to find,” he says. “I started home roasting.”

Eric later took a trip to Italy where, upon drinking “an incredible cup of espresso,” he began to imagine a business. He bought a commercial coffee maker in 2012 and started supplying roasted beans to markets and other cafés. Eventually he decided to open his own shop.

And now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the owner and chief roaster at One World Coffee Roasters is adding some extra association to the word “coffee” for his customers, too: goodwill.

In the face of the virus that has infected thousands around the state, Eric has turned his coffee into a bright spot for many customers.

Three days before it became mandatory, Eric closed One World’s doors but continued to take online orders for one-pound bags of coffee beans or coffee grounds. Customers can pay for shipping but they can also opt for free delivery in New Haven County.

“During the pandemic, people who were hesitant to venture out began to take advantage of the delivery service,” Eric says.

As order numbers began to increase, Eric and One World’s connection with the community also grew stronger.

“Even though home deliveries maintain social distancing, we still appreciate the small ways of connecting whether it’s a friendly wave from across the yard or a cheery ‘Hello’ said through a window,” he says.

He has also been keeping in touch with the community through a once-monthly email newsletter and social media.

At press time, the coffee shop was slated to reopen on May 30 with guidelines in place to ensure safety—it will use fans to increase ventilation, offer only take-out orders, have outdoor seating, and require staff to use personal protective equipment. Eric says they have also marked out social distancing requirements and have signs posted to explain all their new policies.

“Once the coffeeshop is open again, customers can relax in the outdoor garden patio area, and even though at a safe distance, at least it will be a modified way of creating community,” Eric says.

While free delivery has been a lovely favor to offer local customers during the coronavirus pandemic, Eric says they are taking things one step further to show their appreciation for those taking care of the community.

Throughout the month of June, first responders and essential workers can receive free coffee from One World Coffee Roasters.

“We hope in stressful times, for those working long hours, a cup of coffee can brighten their day and give them a much-needed boost,” Eric says


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