small business

‘It's Our Goal to Survive This': Deli and Coffee Company Owner Hopes to Inspire Other Struggling Small Businesses

After she lost her husband to sudden illness in Dec. 2019, small business owner Karen Covington says the deli's goal is to "survive this."

NBC Universal, Inc.

The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to so many family-owned businesses, but one Inland Empire woman is hoping her story will inspire others to keep fighting to stay open.

At the Downtown Deli & Coffee Company in Hemet, there are pictures of Steve Covington everywhere.

"His dream was to revitalize downtown Hemet," Karen Covington said.

She and her husband Steve opened the deli on Hemet's Harvard Street in 2014.

"When we opened, we had lines out the door ... it was crazy to see your dream kind of come true," she said.

But in Dec. 2019, Steve suddenly became sick and died a few days before Christmas.

"It's been hard ... in every way," Karen Covington said.

She says Steve has always been the inspiration for the deli, because it was always his dream to make it successful.

"His mom Diana and I, we are determined to keep this place going ... We do it for Steve. We have to."

But just a few months after losing Steve, the deli suffered another huge blow. When pandemic restrictions began in Southern California in March, the small business was one of millions of small businesses struggling to survive.

"I knew we could do it," Steve's mother Diana Hruska said. "I knew we could pull together and somehow manage to do it ... and we needed to do it to keep his legacy alive."

Hruska says although everything looked bleak and despite almost closing for good three times, they always stayed positive.

"We just knew we had to and we had a lot of support from the community," she added.

Karen Covington says her best advice is to never give up, and keep your inspiration in clear view so you never lose focus.

"You just have to roll with the punches and adapt to what you can to keep it going and so far so good. We're hanging on ... it's our goal to survive this.

Contact Us