PULLMAN, WASH.- Owning a business in a college town during a pandemic is challenging. Now imagine starting one.
That’s what Chris Chandler and his wife, the owners of Neill’s Flowers and Gifts did when they opened Neill’s Coffee and Ice Cream.
“We already owned the space and so since it was going to sit vacant we decided to open it back up, We just kind of made this our pandemic project,” Chandler said.
The new coffee and ice cream shop took over the space that used to be occupied by Daily Grind Coffeehouse in the heart of downtown Pullman.
“Pullman is kinda fun. It’s unlike any other place in the world because it’s that true college town. Where most businesses get busier in the summer or around holidays, almost all of our population goes away. We go from being a fairly good size city to about the same size as Colfax overnight, ” Chandler said.
This challenge and the lack of students in Pullman for the 2021-2021 school year could be seen as detrimental for a new business, but Chris said it was actually kind of nice.
“Getting started it actually might have been a little easier because we didn’t necessarily have to go from zero to one hundred miled per hour right away. We were able to learn a lot of things and we are still learning now that we are getting busier,” Chandler said.
As the business continues to grow and adapt they are enjoying the influx of visitors in Pullman.
“Pullman’s population grows when the stadium’s population grows, it’s definitely huge, parents weekend was great, we had lines out the door and every table was filled. That was the first time we’ve ever had that,” Chandler said.
With more sporting events attracting visitors to Pullman Chris is hoping that the business will continue to grow.