SOUTHINGTON — A Middletown coffee shop is the latest addition to the Factory Square building where food and entertainment-based businesses are making the best of the pandemic restrictions.
Perkatory Coffee Roasters owners Joey and Johanna Perazella were preparing their second location before the coronavirus resulted in business shutdowns. They opened the café on Center Street on May 1.
“We didn’t want to open right away in the middle of the pandemic. But we got to the point where the café was finished, we were ready to go,” Joey Perazella said. “Every time we would pull into the café, I’d see a ton of people walking on the (nearby Farmington Canal Heritage) trail.”
While building a following at their Middletown location, the Perazellas attracted customers from Southington and the surrounding area.
Perkatory joins a brewery, bar/arcade and a chocolate shop on the ground floor of the Factory Square building on Center Street. Montana Nights, an ax-throwing range, is preparing to move in as well.
Owners are hopeful people will visit more than one business in the building and hang out in a lounge area under construction that connects many of the shops. The lounge is on hold with COVID-19 restrictions, however.
Rosie Okinsky, owner of Rosie’s Royal Chocolates, reopened her shop this week. She missed the Easter season, which she called her “Super Bowl.” Between rioting and racial unrest and concerns over coronavirus, she said retail business is slow.
“I don’t think people are even thinking about shopping,” Okinsky said. “I don’t think people’s brains are there.”
She’s hoping chocolate sales pick up again when people are looking for a pick-me-up. Much of her business was selling chocolates and other treats at large offices or the casinos. That’s ended entirely.
“There’s no corporate vending,” Okinsky said. “I’m praying the store does well enough to carry me.”
She’s hopeful that Florian Properties, the company that owns the building, will finish the lounge area outside her shop as planned. The company didn’t return a call for comment this week.
Customers can enter Factory Square but get their order from a table rather than from the Perkatory’s café counter. Perazella said customers order with a smart phone app or can call in their drink.
It’s important to let people know Perkatory is now in Southington, he said, which was part of the reason to open despite the restrictions. Even so, he said sales have been good.
“I’m not going to complain during a pandemic. We’re paying the bills,” Perazella said. “The response has been phenomenal.”
The top two floors of Factory Square are mostly offices.
“We’re waiting for the offices to fill up again,” Perazella said.
Carryout cans and outdoor beer
Since the start of the shutdown, Witchdoctor Brewing Company had been selling beer but wasn’t open for seating. Josh Norris, one of the owners, said they’ve now got 16 tables in a portion of their parking lot. Paul Gregory’s, a Center Street restaurant, has a station and provides food.
While such an operation is dependent on the weather, Norris said at least it keeps people coming to the brewery.
“The ability to open outside definitely boosted things for us,” he said. “It’s a whole lot better than just selling cans for carryout.”