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Community, creativity and caffeine: What coffee shops reopening means to New Yorkers

On a mid-June evening, Buunni Coffee in Inwood, New York City, was packed with people for an open house to debut their new Ethiopian menu. Shop owners Sarina Prasabi and Elias Gurmu, who are from Nepal and Ethiopia, respectively, bustled through the crowd with bright smiles and samples of free food. 

For many of the customers, it’s the first time they’d been back inside a coffee shop since the pandemic started. 

The pandemic hit coffee shops hard. According to an industry study by the London-based Allegra World Coffee Portal, “the US branded coffee shop segment to be valued

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