Equinox Coffee Co. remained open for takeout throughout stay-at-home. “We could be one point of normalcy,” says Heidi Joy Delacruz who manages the cozy coffee shop in Norfolk’s Park Place. To reach those who weren’t venturing out, she and owner Ty Harrell hastened the launch of an online marketplace they’d been brewing for Equinox’s organic, ethically sourced coffee and scratch-made vegan baked goods as well as T-shirts whose proceeds now benefit laid-off staff.
Then they asked themselves: “What could a sheltering family use?” That led to a nifty collaboration with other local businesses to produce the “Nox Box.” A weekly, customizable carton could cradle not only their vegan pop tarts, but also Codex’s house-made rigatoni, a loaf of Pilgrim’s crusty, old-world-style bread, Apothecafé Botanicals’ “Immunity Jam” and a pint of Strawberry Fields’ gelato. Bespoke boxes may be picked up or delivered. If the latter, Delacruz, exuding positivity more potent than a double shot espresso, might ask what a person’s favorite beverage is to surprise them with it.
“Coffee goes a long way,” she says. “It’s comfort in a cup.” Besides the joint effort (continuing at Equinox’s soon-to-open second shop at Old Dominion University), Delacruz notes another positive coronavirus side-effect: new customers.