RENICK, WV (WVNS) – In early March, a beloved local brewery closed its doors indefinitely.
For Alex Durand and his team of coworkers, it came as a shock. On what seemed like an ordinary Tuesday, Durand and his coworkers went from dedicated small-business employees, to searching for a job in a matter of hours.
“It was quite abrupt,” Durand told 59News. “I had been in the brewing industry for about nine years. That was my goal. You set these goals in life, that was my career. I wanted to open a brewery at some point.”
Suddenly, Alex and his coworkers found themselves scrambling to find work.
“We all worked together to try to get each other jobs. Make sure that anybody who needed support from Workforce, got them the information they needed. I mean it was a really tight family,” said Durand.
Durand’s story is just one of many here in our area about small businesses closing and leaving employees searching for answers.
Aside from struggling to keep up financially, small businesses just can’t compete with big corporations when it comes to job security for employees.
But Durand remained determined to turn his small-business story around.
He and some friends decided to take what used to be a small side-hustle, and founded Mountain Table, a new coffee company set to open in Durand’s hometown of Renick on Tuesday May 9, 2023.
“We had purchased this coffee roaster, and were going to make it into just like a little side thing and test the waters, but after (being furloughed) I just decided to go all-in,” said Durand.
With his new business, Durand is aiming to do things differently. He’s focusing on establishing Mountain Table in the community, partnering with the Renick Community center for events, and hosting a Community market in the Mountain Table parking lot every Tuesday, where other local businesses and vendors can highlight their own small businesses.
But even with more than a decade of experience as an employee, Durand said he’s still learning lessons about surviving in small business – this time, as the boss.
“Some of the biggest hurdles have just been meeting deadlines, or at least setting them, working with partners, trying to get the word out, advertisement. That’s why I hope this market, we provide a space for them and then they know about our product.”
Mountain Table will host their first community market Tuesday May 9th, and it will feature food trucks, vendors, pastries, and of course, freshly roasted coffee.