FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) — Stacey Conway has worked in the restaurant industry all her life, starting at the age 15 as a bus girl and climbing her way up to business owner.
“We work really hard. I get here first thing and I’m here until 8 or 9 at night,” she said. “It’s a lot of hard work. We put our hearts and souls into this and it’s all we have.”
Conway has operated four businesses over the course of her 35-year career, but Lucille’s Coffee Hops & Vine held a special place in her heart.
“It was really a beautiful place. Really special. It was sad, but that’s life,” Conway said.
The shop, known by the community for its coziness and charm, was named after Conway’s favorite cat and the first establishment she created from start to finish.
“I mean, I built that from scratch. Never done it before. I took over a Starbucks, gutted the place. Just came up with it,” Conway told FOX40. “I worked in the kitchen there, made the food menu, just did things I’ve never done before, which is what I always wanted to do.”
And customers kept returning to the warm welcome and a fresh cup of her finest roast.
“We knew everyone’s name when they came in there. We’d have a group of teachers come in and we’d already have their orders ready for them. It was just really special,” Conway said.
But even its popularity could not survive the coronavirus pandemic, so Conway made the difficult decision to close the door on a dream in the making.
“It just broke my heart. Every day, I was there working. We had to pack up all of our stuff. That was the hard part, packing everything up, boxing everything up and handing it over to somebody new. It was really hard,” she said.
Now, a new coffee shop sits where Lucille’s once did.
For Conway, it’s a painful reminder of what was lost, but she keeps herself busy by keeping her other restaurant across the street going. With the help of a PPP loan and support from loyal customers, business at Folsom Tap House continues to hold on.
“Don’t give up. I’m not giving up. I wouldn’t have given up Lucille’s if I had a choice but I knew I didn’t,” Conway told FOX40. “I’ve been in this business long enough to know.”