Lindsay Banfill opened Joanna’s Café in July of 2019, just eight months before the pandemic hit. Joanna’s Café had a promising start, but the shut downs gave Lindsay pause. Suddenly Lindsay was struggling to find essential items for her business like to go cups. It was a frustrating experience for Lindsay, who prior to the shutdown had a steady stream of take-out customers. Ordering to go cups and other items were a regular part of inventory and suddenly that inventory was scarce.
Joanna’s Café had the support of the community behind them. Customers understood that shortages were now a part of everyday life. Lindsay weathered the brunt of the shutdowns by staying optimistic about the future. “I hoped for the best, we put out good products. We just had to stay positive,” she said in a Zoom interview early in March. Lindsay is looking forward to warmer weather to better utilize the beautiful patio space she laid out just before the pandemic hit and to loosen restrictions on indoor dining that will bring customers back to her shop for quiet mornings, coffee and pastries.
While managing the shifting county and state regulations, Lindsay also saw what the closures would mean for families. She quickly implemented a pay it forward program that would allow customers to pay for a family’s grocery box at cost. Lindsay then delivered the groceries to families in need. “It was another way to help out local families that were struggling with affording food now that their kids were home all day and they previously relied on School Lunches,” Banfill said. As the seasons changed, Lindsay used her café as a toy drive location partnering with a local Krampus organization, Krampus Kares, to make sure kids in need had something to open on Christmas. Banfill made sure Easter was special for kids, partnering with another local organization to help the Easter Bunny travel through the local neighborhoods on a fire truck. At her shop, Banfill had the Easter Bunny and Marshall from Paw Patrol come out on Easter for free photos while clients picked up orders.
“Lindsay’s commitment to the people of Dundalk before and during this pandemic is a perfect example of the community spirit of Dundalk. Dundalk is a town with a lot of heart. That spirit of care and concern for each other can be seen everywhere. It is very clear that Lindsay and Joanna’s Café have that same spirit,” Nick Staigerwald, business development manager at Dundalk Renaissance said. “Joanna’s Café is a wonderful and welcome addition to Dundalk. Lindsay is an asset to our community. Before the pandemic Joanna’s Café took part in the Historic Dundalk Town Center’s community events like Family Fall Festival, and Holiday Hoopla.”
If there’s one thing Lindsay wants everyone to know about Joanna’s Café it’s that they’re open regular days and regular hours, so stop by for your morning coffee or tea and treat yourself to a pastry or sandwich. Joanna’s Café recently won seven categories in the Eagle’s Dundalk Favorites—so you know everything is delicious!