By: Natalie Veloso, Reporter
OMAHA, Neb. — In the past year, inflation has hit Omaha businesses, causing numerous shutdowns throughout the city.
You learn a lot about a city by exploring its coffee options. Since the pandemic, coffee shops in Douglas County have struggled to overcome obstacles like staffing shortages and supply chain issues.
CTRL Coffee and Cereal bar in Little Italy aims to be more than just another coffee shop. The shop is lined with Nintendo game consoles, retro decor, and a full cereal bar, which owner Jenny Maestas says helped their popularity in a city that already has great coffee.
Maestas says opening during the pandemic was a risk, but customer response to their nostalgic approach was overwhelmingly positive.
“We wanna just create a space that people would feel like it was a home away from home; that they would feel comfortable, and just really enjoy coming to hang out,” Maestas says.
That’s why Maestas and her husband Nick designed the space not just for twenty-somethings, but also for families, young kids, and grandparents.
While the pandemic caused the shutdown of a few businesses in Little Italy, Maestas says CTRL has made connections with the community that motivates them to keep going.
Recognizing that other businesses aren’t so lucky, CTRL has a corner dedicated to supporting other local vendors and creators.
Frequent customer Sam Strong says CTRL offers the type of experience that makes anyone feel at home.
“It’s got a ton of different cereals, and who doesn’t like cereal?” Strong says. “So, when I come here, it’s like especially special, and you can go crazy here, because you can put all the different toppings on it, that’s super cool.”
Maestas says the future of CTRL is not set in stone, but she wishes to expand the business soon. Supply chain delays and rising costs set back local businesses, but CTRL reminds customers that the simple things in life can take some pressure off.
With community support, CTRL Coffee has survived every hurdle so far. CTRL celebrates its one-year anniversary in May.
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