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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 20, 202012:59 PM EST

The Mini Bar plans a grand opening weekend with a new approach

Purchases must be made online and orders must be picked up to-go at Gateway Village at Town Center store.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

The Mini Bar’s second location in Gateway Village at Town Center will open this weekend, just not how owner Brooke Sams had in mind. 

Her initial plan included beer samples, live screen printing, giveaways and hopefully, big crowds, she said. 

With authorities suggesting social distancing and canceling gatherings of more than 10 people, Sams thought it best to find another approach. The grand opening at 10618 Deerwood Park Blvd., off Gate Parkway, will be 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. March 21 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. March 22.

The Mini Bar owner Brooke Sams.

The Mini Bar offers packs of miniature doughnuts and coffee drinks. To order, customers must place their orders online and can go inside only to pick them up. 

Sams said the online ordering system provides pickup times 5 minutes apart to avoid crowds gathering inside. If someone arrives and the order isn’t ready, the customer will be told to wait in the car. 

Sams could have canceled the opening, but said there’s too much at stake.

“We have 25 team members that left other jobs to come work for us and we’re still responsible for rent and other things too. We wanted to take care of our team,” Sams said. 

“It was a tough decision to make, but as long as I think we can safely open and be socially responsible in doing so, other businesses are remaining open, it was kind of like why wouldn’t I open my business too?”

The Mini Bar’s second location is in Gateway Village at Town Center.

Sams said the Mini Bar also will sell merchandise outside the store. She doesn’t want people lining up there either, but if that does happen, she would have lines on the ground spaced 6 feet apart to encourage social distancing. 

She’s not sure how many to expect at the opening, but said there already were about 50 online orders placed for March 21.

“If we can be that extra little bit of joy right now, we want to be that,” Sams said. “People are looking for something like that right now because it is tough.”

Sales have decreased at her Beach Plaza location at Jacksonville Beach, but she has seen an increase in online sales. That location offers online ordering and to-go orders only.

She hopes the opening of the Gate Parkway location will help offset losses.

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