Gov. Newsom Visits Natomas Cafe to Show Support for Small Businesses Amid Pandemic

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Maestro Coffee

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Maestro Coffee owner Antronette Robinson. / Courtesy Photo

California Gov. Gavin Newsom paid a visit to Maestro Coffee in Natomas Tuesday morning, just hours before he previewed a proposed budget package which includes $4.5 billion in business support.

“Today I had the privilege of meeting another small business leader by the name Antronette (Robinson) who owns a little business in Natomas, California,” Newsom said. “She’s been able, over the last year and a half, to weather opening a new business as well as weather all the headwinds from this COVID-induced recession.”

The governor complimented Robinson applying for federal Paycheck Protection Program relief funds as well as one of the state’s small business grants to help support Maestro Coffee during the pandemic.

“We had the opportunity to meet with her because she is part of the narrative, part of the story of perseverance in this great state,” Newsom added. “Not only the perseverance of taking an idea herself, and making this small business work, and also employing eight people in the process.”

Maestro Coffee has long been a neighborhood favorite, as one of only a couple non-franchise coffee shops in Natomas. The café operated for several years as Maestro Coffeehouse & Gallery until it changed ownership — and names — in 2014.

After a brief closure, Robinson bought rights to the Maestro Coffee name and reopened in July 2019. Less than a year later, the pandemic hit.

“It’s been hard,” said Robinson, who estimated the cafe’s revenue has dropped about 50% since March 2020.

Robinson said she’s avoided laying off any employees by continuing to work fulltime as a nurse and supplementing the coffee shop’s income with her own wages. She’s also joined delivery take out platforms DoorDash and GrubHub, and worked to embrace social media posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram.

“We’ve done everything we can to try to bring business to us,” she said.

Robinson said she and Gov. Newsom talked about the challenges of keeping small businesses, like hers, open during the pandemic.

“He wants us to stay open, to stay hopeful,” she said. “He said we’ll all try to get through this together.”

Micro and small businesses in California that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for a grant of up to $25,000 through the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program administered by California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate. The application period for this first round of funding ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13 — extended from the original Jan. 8 deadline.

CA' economic recovery package

Gov. Gavin Newsom talks about meeting Maestro Coffee owner Antronette Robinson as he previews a business relief plan as part of his proposed budget for the state.


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