Kaimuki businesses aim to rebound as foot traffic increases

It took a leap of faith to remain in business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, says Liz Schwartz, owner of Coffee Talk in Kaimuki.

The past year has been a blur, but she remembers the struggles of surviving two shutdowns, when her independent coffee shop at 12th and Waialae avenues sat empty due to restrictions, followed by a slow reopening — and now a feeling of hope.

“I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

On a recent weekday the cafe of more than 25 years was bustling, with customers occupying every table and a line in front of the cash register.

It took about six months after the second shutdown for people to feel comfortable coming back in again, she said. The largest challenge has been keeping up with the rent for her 3,600- square-foot space.

As soon as she could reopen, she had a glass case installed in front, plus custom-made Plexiglas barriers on wheels that can be rolled between tables. She attributes her survival…

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