The Health of Small Businesses: Frodo Joe’s Follow Up

Frodo Joe’s, a cafe located in San Lorenzo, CA, though the COVID-19 pandemic is still amongst the community, the small business is trying to preservice through the hardships. 

In March, Frodo Joes had to close its doors to indoor dining, just as many businesses had to across the country. In late June, the business opened up outdoor dining in their parking lot. A new experience for the cafe. 

Frodo Joe’s is a family-owned business with two locations, one in San Lorenzo and the other in Fremont. The business is most known for its delicious savory and dessert crepes. Togo orders continue, but now patrons can sit down for coffee and a fresh crepe.

The San Lorenzo location is managed by Emily, the daughter of the owners, along with her staff behind her, young college students from the community. 

Emily expresses that the brightest side of the whole situation is the support from the community especially online, “A lot of my customers are posting to go and support Frodo Joe’s,” People have been posting to San Lorenzo’s Facebook to help keep business booming. 

New obstacles have popped up as the cafe tries to manage social distance guidelines outside. The landlord of the building granted the cafe four parking spaces for tables and chairs, all six feet apart from each other. “We can’t do parties more than six,” Emily expresses that she can move tables together, but has to stick to guidelines. 

Frodo Joe’s has always been a rather small space, and a seat at a table has always been a tricky task. However, Emily set new rules, “The customers have to pay for their food before they can get a table.” She understands that customers were used to saving their seats, “This way there won’t be any conflicts between customers.”

For the most part, people have been understanding as Emily puts it. Their business depends on being able to keep up with health and safety regulations, “We try to work as efficiently as possible. Inspectors do come to make sure tables are six feet apart, we sanitize all the tables and chairs.” 

Business overall is better, but there are setbacks that are unavoidable. Due to the wildfires that began in early September, outside seating hasn’t been easy. On Sep. 9 the Bay Area skies were dark orange with a thick layer of smoke. In the days following the air quality index (AQI) spiked to over 200 categorized as very unhealthy. 

As of Sep. 21, the AQI is at 42 in San Lorenzo, categorized as Good. Emily says that slowly but surely business is building back up as the weather has improved. She expressed that the cafe is in a better position than before, “It’s better than nothing. At least right now I do have my supportive customers in the area.” 

Frodo Joe’s is located at 17665 Hesperian Blvd, San Lorenzo. The cafe opens from 6 am-5 pm Monday to Saturday and 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday. Emily and her staff are more than happy to see kind faces come by, with face masks while going inside. 

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