HempLade Vegan Café stays afloat amid COVID-19

This vegan cafe opened in October. Photo by Stephan Symonette

Narsha Cumming and Yudah Weh said their business is managing to stay afloat during these hard times.

Their business, HempLade Vegan Café, is a restaurant that focuses on providing and promoting eating healthy foods that contain no meat.

The café is a new restaurant that opened last October on Old Bainbridge Road. Since then, 2020 has not been the easiest year for HempLade Vegan Café and many other businesses.

In March the state of Florida was put on quarantine once the coronavirus was labeled as a statewide emergency. The quarantine rules made many businesses adjust the way they operate. Up until May many businesses were either closed or limited their operations.

HempLade Vegan Café has had to deal with the effects of quarantine by shutting their business down for a week and cutting restaurant hours.  It has shifted its business by finding advantages through the turmoil.

“We had to get creative with marketing,” Cumming said.

HempLade Vegan Cafe has always been about promoting a healthy eating lifestyle. The café has found ways to assist people in making that shift to a meat-free diet. Utilizing social media has helped HempLade Vegan Café maintain its customers. Cummings says that keeping their customers informed through Instagram has helped maintain their business.

The café is constantly creating new recipes and healthy drinks that can benefit the community business. One of their products known as the ”HempLade Tea Lime 9” has nutritional herbs that are anti-Inflammatory, cleanses the blood, promotes iron and supports the respiratory system.

Weh said that the pandemic has shown its positive and negative attributes to the businesses’ value. While HempLade Vegan Café has had to shift to dealing with fewer customers, they took advantage of the situation by helping people live a healthier lifestyle. Cumming and Weh have expressed their gratitude at still being able to serve their community amid thecoronavirus.

The café’s owners are optimistic that they can grow now that people are being more health-conscious.

“HempLade is definitely a different dining experience that I’ve ever had, to be honest. The menu is creative, the space is unique and the food is great. And it’s all vegan, which is great to see in the Black community,” said Jazmin Johnson, who has enjoyed their food.

 HempLade Café is currently open from noon to 8 p.m. and is accepting pick-up orders.