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Sunrise Cafe shifts to selling groceries to stay afloat during coronavirus pandemic

With coronavirus pandemic creating issues for dine-in service, two Sunrise Cafe locations are now shifting to selling grocery items.

BOISE, Idaho — The truth is that a lot of businesses are hurting because of the coronavirus. Closing for weeks is not something that usually translates to good business.

People and businesses are getting creative and doing what they can to make ends meet so they can reopen when, inevitably, this all passes.

Sunrise Café has several restaurants across the Treasure Valley. Not all the locations could stay open, but the ones that have a brand-new business model.

“We’ve been open for 31 years and it’s been a traditional restaurant, dine-in, take out restaurant,” Boomer Godsill, the owner of Sunrise Cafe, said.

For now, the normal busy scene inside is on hold. So Godsill is getting creative with his business model by pivoting to groceries.

“Sunrise Café, two locations, are now Sunrise Grocer, alongside Sunrise Café,” Godsill said. “We’re offering groceries to our customers from an online store.”

The idea was created in part when Godsill’s wife went to the grocery store and couldn't find some of the products that they needed. Godsill knew that he could get those products from his distributors.

He then got on the phone and started making calls. Godsill found that because he has different distributors than most grocery stores, he was able to get products people were looking for. Soon enough, the grocery arm of Sunrise Café was open for business.

“We just did phone call orders the first day and that got the point where our phone was ringing off the hook,” Godsill said.

He made a website the next day and now people have the option to pick up items or get them delivered.

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Godsill has a little bit of everything for sale in his newly converted grocery stores. From Redbulls to beef and chicken.

“We’ve got cleaning supplies, we kind of offer a lot, a good amount of everyday essentials,” Godsill said.

One of the best selling items is none other than toilet paper

“Everything is selling pretty well, so it’s been good,” Godsill said.

For Godsill, converting his cafes into grocery stores hasn't been easy.

“It’s been like basically starting a new business and during this time where it’s hard to reach anybody it’s been a pain,” Godsill said.

But, Godsill says it was important for him to do it so he could keep as many people working as possible.

The Sunrise Café is also working on selling ready-to-eat meals. Like a big lasagna for the family or some bulk breakfast burritos. They have two locations open for carryout and delivery service.

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