UPDATE: Columbia cafe closes to focus on financial/physical health

Proving Ground pauses after two weeks of curb service

Brian Kelly
April 03, 2020 - 4:30 pm
Proving Ground Cafe, Columbia, Il

Brian Kelly/KMOX

(COLUMBIA, IL) KMOX-A couple of weeks ago we told you about a Columbia, Illinois coffee shop that was trying to navigate its way through the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, that shop closed.

Proving Ground Café and Roaster announced on Facebook that it is closing until further notice. Owner Caleb Wolz posted, "Our contribution to helping slowing down the virus means we can no longer encourage you guys to come out every day to see us and instead encourage you to stay home and to stay safe."

Thursday, Wolz admitted that this past week, curbside service had not gone as well as the first two. He says when Governor J.B. Prtizker extended Illinois' stay at home order, it was time to re-evaluate, "How do we plan to tackle another month? With that we're kind of looking at getting some of the grants and loans and everything. It's all changing so much every day you have to be on top of it."

He says it all got to be a bit overwhelming. "Every day you're trying to keep your business open as well as stay on top of all these new things popping up. Then trying to jump on them as quick as possible because it's first come first serve."

Wolz had already laid off 11 of the café’s employees. He was staffing the business with his partner and his sister who were working for free. He also expressed concern about their health, coming into contact with customers.