ASH GROVE, Mo. — COVID-related closures and regulations have been a year-long normal, but they have been controversial.
Mama Loca’s Cafe in Ash Grove, Missouri, is thankful while other businesses are struggling with the effects of the pandemic.
“Our city, the City of Ash Grove, was not as strict with their rules as the City of Springfield was,” said Dolores Coble, the owner of Mama Loca’s Cafe. “So the mask ordinance was in place to our customers if they wanted to wear the mask and our staff if they wanted to wear the mask we 100% wanted them to.”
To handle all of the business Mama Loca’s was getting locally and from surrounding places under the masking ordinance, it is expanding. The restaurant has taken in the old bank of Ash Grove building next door, which has been vacant for 40 years.
“They were completed in 1894 as one building,” said Coble. “In 1941 they were split.”
The plan is to renovate and rejoin the two in order to double Mama Loca’s capacity.
“We have been very happy with the business that we have had,” said Coble.
The pandemic and restrictions are easing in surrounding areas, but the owners believe their growing group of customers will keep coming back for more.
“We need to shop mom and pop. We need to shop in small town America,” said Coble. “Small town Missouri. There are a lot of people that are working so hard to keep their businesses through this.”
The cafe owners said it will be an expensive and time-consuming project, but if all goes well, they hope to have the addition open next year.