Bailey McKeon ’22
Erin DeMarco ’23 has been whipping up some delicious drinks at Peter B’s this semester. As a new barista, DeMarco has been able to help carry on the Peter B’s tradition of serving the Trinity community despite the pandemic. “I’m very thankful that we can still be open,” DeMarco said. “I think we’ve been doing a good job of making the most out of grim circumstances.”
DeMarco applied to work at Peter B’s this past summer to fulfill her dream of becoming a barista. “When I toured Trinity, I knew I wanted to be a barista at Peter B’s some day because I love coffee and tea,” DeMarco said. “I wanted to learn how to make all different kinds of drinks that I normally wouldn’t make or order myself. Plus, I’d get to know different people I wouldn’t have normally met through class or sports.”
Upon returning to Trinity, DeMarco and the other baristas were meet with some new rules and regulations in their place of work. Besides installing the large piece of glass that now rests above the counter to separate baristas from customers, Peter B’s now requires baristas to wipe down all counters, handles, pieces of equipment, etc. every hour to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 at the café. The baristas report this frequent cleaning in a log. Additionally, customers are no longer allowed to bring reusable cups or mugs to hold their drinks.
Despite these changes, DeMarco and her fellow baristas have been able to find some consistency in their work. “I love interacting with people and making all different kinds of drinks,” DeMarco said. “Working at Peter B’s gives me something to do other than homework, practice, and lifts, not to mention it’s been great getting to know my coworkers, who have all been so welcoming and kind.”
Unfortunately, during Trinity’s switch to code orange, DeMarco, like the rest of us, were unable to enjoy the simple pleasures fostered by the café. Moreover, Peter B’s has not been able to operate a flourishing business during these times of closure. “Obviously, closing the store at these times is for the best,” DeMarco said, “but it’s challenging economically to have to shut down completely for that long.”
Yet even when Peter B’s has been able to open, business has not been as usual. DeMarco attributes this to the lack of consistent movement around the campus, hypothesizing that more people may stop in for a coffee during their day if they are out and about more. “I think a lot of people are still coming to Peter B’s, just not as frequently as they would prior to the pandemic because they probably don’t feel like leaving their rooms to go grab a drink if all of their classes are online.”
Another challenge the business has faced this semester is losing their partnership with First & Last Bakery. First & Last Bakery closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As follows, Peter B’s can no longer feature First & Last’s pastries, muffins, and breakfast sandwiches. “Some customers still ask about the bakery items we received from First & Last and I always feel bad having to tell them that we currently don’t sell them,” DeMarco said. “Luckily, however, we still have our renown pumpkin and walnut breads, brownies, cookies, and rice krispie treats that our manager, René, makes. Check out @elle_and_q_bakers on Instagram to see some of these sweets!”
And yet, Peter B’s ability to open amidst these struggles is worth celebrating. “The biggest success of the semester, in my opinion, is still being able to make and serve drinks to the Trinity community despite the numerous challenges and constraints COVID-19 has caused,” DeMarco said.