The COVID-19 situation has been tough on everyone. Right now we are hyper-focused on making sure we are taking care of each other. Nossa Familia means ‘our family’ in Portuguese, and that familial bond only gets stronger in the time of an unforeseen challenge. We want to offer a peek behind the curtain of the ways we are supporting our staff — past and present — during these times.
Overview: Layoffs, Furloughs & Reductions
Our business has been hit hard by a drastic loss of revenue, and everyone on our team has been affected because of this. We closed all four of our cafés in late March and were forced to lay off or furlough all of our café staff. We are a smaller, family-owned business and as much as we wanted to keep paying folks’ salaries even while closed, we knew we would not be able to do so and keep the business going so that people had jobs to come back to when this is over. Instead, we are doing what we can to conduct layoffs and furloughs of staff so that folks can maximize their benefits through available social safety nets. We hope that we will be able to bring back all of our staff who have been affected by this situation when things return to normal. We’re focused on making sure we can continue providing a living wage to those who remain employed with us, as well as connect those who have been laid off or had their hours reduced with the benefits that they need. We are also participating in the Work Share program to minimize layoffs where several of our staff have reduced their hours by around 40%. We are working to ensure that those who continue to work feel safe and healthy doing so, and we are not asking anyone to continue working who does not want to do so.
Launching Nossa Cares: 5% of Sales to Staff
We are aware that those staff who continue working are making a sacrifice and taking risks just by going out in the world and coming in to work. To show our appreciation for our staff who continue working, we will be giving them 5% of our online coffee sales for April and May. They are the reason we can still enjoy the bit of normalcy and comfort that is our daily cup of coffee. They’re the reason we can continue to ship out fresh coffee to you that shows up on your doorstep within a couple of days, and why you can still find delicious coffee when shopping at local grocery stores. Online coffee sales is one of the main things keeping the company going and this team employed, and we hope you’ll help us continue to keep them working, and also feel good about your purchase that it directly supports our staff.
Protecting Frontline Workers
Along with the above bonus for current staff, we are also putting their safety first. We are taking extra measures to ensure the highest levels of health and sanitation across our operations. We have acquired an additional supply of face masks, gloves and cleaning supplies for our roastery. We are conducting enhanced sanitation measures at the roastery as well as enforcing social distancing throughout the facility. We are constantly asking for feedback from these staff members to make sure we are taking every possible precaution and that they feel safe coming to work.
Distributing Care Packages to Laid off Staff
When it started becoming clear that we would have to lay off staff to weather this crisis, we sprung into action to make sure those team members would be taken care of with some pantry essentials. We reached out to a few of our wholesale business partners to collect items for care packages for laid off staff. We filled the packages with things like pasta, oats, beans, cooking oil, granola bars, and — of course — coffee. We delivered 20 care packages in total to team members’ homes. We want to thank our partners at Classic Foods, Bob’s Red Mill, and Pacific Foods for coming through to help us fill the packages with these items.
Connecting Staff Past & Present with Resources
There is a lot of information out there about how individuals can get help and be supported during this time. We are working to connect our team members with the resources they need. We’re helping laid off and furloughed staff get set up with unemployment insurance benefits. We’re enrolling staff experiencing reductions in hours into the Work Share program to make up for lost pay. We’ve also lowered eligibility thresholds for health benefits so that staff can stay on their Nossa healthcare plan. We have also been connecting laid off staff with new work opportunities, and a few of our laid off café staff now have jobs with our grocery partner, New Seasons Market.
PDX Tip Jar
PDX Tip Jar is a city-wide effort to support service industry workers. Folks can tip whatever amount they choose directly to those listed on the site. We have encouraged our staff to join PDX Tip Jar and promoted this to our customers in order to support them. Learn more at www.pdxtipjar.com.
Open Lines of Communication
We are doing a lot of listening and learning during this time. We are working to keep our staff well-informed of the current situation by every means possible. Augusto has personally reached out to all the laid off staff and gave them his personal cell number, and every week, we are hosting a virtual ‘town hall’ video conference with staff to update them on how things are going throughout the company and to hear any comments or concerns. These weekly meetups have also been a great opportunity to connect with each other and keep informed about our lives. We have a virtual feedback form to field ongoing comments and concerns, as well as accountability systems in place to make sure all voices are heard.
Ensuring Business Survival
As a small, family-owned business, we are working hard to ensure business survival by utilizing every available financial tool. We are doing lots of research and filling out applications for loans, grants, rent relief, and programs that can help keep our business afloat during these tough and uncertain times. We care so deeply for our team, our producers, our customers, and we know that those folks rely on the products and services we provide. It is for them — for you — that we want to make sure we can bounce back from this crisis.
How Can You Support?
Many people have asked how they can best support our staff and Nossa right now. Here are our recommendations:
Purchase coffee online. 5% of your purchase will go directly to our staff in April and May, and helps to keep them employed.
Contribute on PDX Tip Jar. www.pdxtipjar.com
Buy café gift cards. These are great to hold onto for yourself & to give as gifts. We’re offering 11% off café gift cards through April. www.nossacoffee.com/products/cafe-gift-card
Purchase coffee through our wholesale partners who remain open. Our wholesale program is an important function of our business, and our partners need your support too.
Restaurants, bakeries: Grand Central Bakery, Petite Provence, Verde Cocina, Tabor Bread, Voodoo Doughnut, JinJu Patisserie, Suzette Creperie, Flying Cat Coffee Co, Favela Brazilian Café, Bob’s Red Mill
Grocery: New Seasons Market, Zupan’s, Market of Choice, Alberta Co-Op, Whole Foods