Grafton couple opens their hearts – and their property – to the community

Tom and Donna Hart (left) with their family

BY ARIN SHATTO, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AMERICORPS VISTA, THE HUB

Tom and Donna Hart, small business owners and community leaders based in Grafton, WV, recently had to temporarily close their downtown coffee shop, Espresso Yourself.

“As a mom and pop shop, we really have to consider our own personal safety as well. If one of us goes down, we would really be in trouble,” Tom shared.

But the duo didn’t allow circumstances to stop them from opening their hearts to their fellow neighbors. Tom and Donna wanted to offer folks in their community a space to cope, feel better about this constantly-evolving situation, get stronger, and escape the craziness for a while. They decided to open up their 95-acre property to their neighbors.

On the Espresso Yourself Facebook Page, Tom and Donna shared:

“We remain committed to serving our community in whatever way we can. With this in mind, we are offering free use of our outdoor facilities at Hartland Lake Marie, 35 Lake Marie Drive, for catch and release fishing, hiking and hanging about in the great outdoors. While occupying indoor spaces lends itself to the spread of the virus, fresh air, sunshine (hopefully), and exercise will help to combat it…”

Tom said, “In times like these, we need to help one another and not be selfish. This situation will pass in time. Let’s all be better for the experience.”

He also stressed the importance of strategizing to support existing small businesses in your community for the future, sharing, “Most small businesses are going to need added community and governmental support moving forward. We need to do everything possible to keep the ones we have and start some new ones.”

Although you can’t purchase a sweet latte or a classic pepperoni roll from Tom and Donna to support their business right now, you can visit them remotely on the Espresso Yourself Coffee Shop Facebook page, and, if you’re in the area, take an outdoor stroll through Hartland Lake Marie. Find Hartland Lake Marie on Facebook.

In the words of Tom and Donna: “Be kind. Be generous. Make the world a better place.”

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