Businesses struggling in small-town America

2 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Sunday, April 12 2020 Apr 12, 2020 Sunday, April 12, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT April 12, 2020 in News
By: Peyton Headlee, KOMU 8 Reporter
Photo credit to Joe Waner and Central Methodist University

FAYETTE — Thrive Coffee and Creamery in Fayette is closing indefinitely after opening less than a year ago. 

In a Facebook post, the non-profit said, ”It is with a heavy heart, which we share that due to financial difficulties surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot continue to keep Thrive open at this time.” 

Michael O’Neill said he has a personal connection with the creamery and is heartbroken to see it go. 

“I know the people who run and own Thrive and so seeing their business, which was doing really, really well suffer this way, it’s heartbreaking,” O’Neill said. 

The father of four said the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting small-town businesses especially hard. He said almost half of Fayette’s customers are students attending Central Methodist University, but with courses moved online, most students returned home.

“Fayette is very empty right now,” O’Neill said. “Some students lived off-campus and are still living in their apartments, but a lot have gone back to their home towns and the town is very empty.”

He said the people of Fayette are rallying around each other to try to support the town. 

"Even though people are really trying hard to maintain and keep up those businesses, there’s just not nearly the number of people to go and use those services,” he said. 

O’Neill said his family of six is making a point to only buy from local businesses to help them stay open.

According to the most recent census data, Fayette has a population of 2,715. 

KOMU 8 reached out to Thrive Coffee and Creamery and did not hear back.

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