Interviewing The Coffee Industry - Dominic Ide

 Today's guest on The Coffee Life is Dom - if you didn't know, Dom is my boss at Pallets.

How are you?

2020 was a tough year for me professionally and personally and in turn it has, at times, left me feeling overwhelmed and deflated but looking back over the year there is a lot that was achieved under the circumstances. My weeks consisted on juggling being a dad to my awesome little boy Angus, keeping Pallets afloat and changing the way it operated through Covid and creating a plan for the development of my second business The Beaulieu Bakehouse. Doing all this and working the shop floor of Pallets most days of the week was a huge challenge but you can only look forward and stay positive. Pallets is doing great and has come out the other side very successfully with an amazing team helping me all the way.

Where do you work, what is your job role?

I am the Owner and Director of Pallets Tea and Coffee House in Beaulieu and have recently taken on the lease to The Bakehouse Tea Rooms just down the road from us also in Beaulieu.

How has Coronavirus affected your job?

Well... What a question! It's affected everything. Pallets went from being a very secure coffee shop in the way it operated, to changing into a general store for our locals through lockdown and then a take away hub in the summer when we couldn't open the inside. I had to look at new ways that worked within the rules given from the government which would keep us above the break even point and it was achieved. Our local community kept us alive, gave us purpose and reminded me that I opened Pallets to be a place to connect people together so it was nice to be part of the glue keeping our community supported. The great thing about this was that now Pallets can operate in more than one way if we ever needed to and we know it can still be successful.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

The biggest challenge for me personally again came down to keeping my business from sinking and keeping my staff safe. I love our customers, but honestly we have seen some horrors which has left me wanting to close the doors until it calmed down. To give you one example, back in summer about a week after we were told we could operate as a take away, a lady and her mother and child came to our front door coughing really badly, openly saying to other customers who were waiting outside that she had recently come out of isolation after catching the virus but is she she's fine now... She looked awful and no one was comfortable with her being there just for a coffee! Neither her or her mother were wearing masks and the other customers said to her, rather sternly, that she needed to go home. She decided to ignore them and try and step into the front of the shop, where our counter was to try and order but before she stepped in, I explained that I was not comfortable serving her and agreed that she needed to go home as she could be putting so many people in danger. They begrudgingly walked away and then I had to go round and carefully sanitize any touch point she could have touched in full face mask and gloves. It becomes different when we all have to rely on the common sense of others to keep us safe and we get put in such a vulnerable position everyday, but we had to keep operating. Thankfully we have been very careful but it's nerve-racking when so many peoples well-being relies on you being on it as much as you can. It's also exhausting.

How have you felt about the Coffee Industry in 2020?

What an industry. It's pulled so many together in a way other industries do not. The support between Roasters, Coffee Shops and all professions in the industry has been amazing to see. Even being a place for customers to delve more into the arts of brewing coffee from home and the passion we all have for it is great to see. Although it has been tough for people working for companies that have collapsed, especially when they get zero notice before it happens. I feel deeply sorry for them and it drove me more to ensure it didn't happen to Pallets.

What is something you missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

Cuppings and social events, hands down.

How has Coronavirus/Lockdown affected your mental health?

Haha! No... Of course not... YES! Massively, but coming through the other side only helps to make me more resilient but it hasn't been easy and I've felt very alone at times. That's the hardest bit.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Honestly I cannot say as we are not out of the woods yet. What I can say is that I'm excited for The Bakehouse to be complete and operating but I'm very nervous about it at the same time. I'm also excited about having the sun slowly returning! I am definitely going to take more time to enjoy it this year. My son is also 3 this year and is becoming such a little dude so I cant wait to spend as much time with him as I can. 

Find Dom 

Instagram - Click Here

Pallets and The Beaulieu Bakehouse

Pallets Website - Click Here

Pallets Instagram - Click Here

Bakehouse Instagram - Click Here

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