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Cayce's Piecewise Coffee expanding into next door space

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Piecewise Coffee's Cayce storefront

Cayce’s Piecewise Coffee is expanding into an adjacent space that will almost double its indoor seating.

The shop, which has been open on the Cayce end of State Street for more than a year, currently resides in a snug, minimalist space where it slings coffee and baked goods from Vista cafe smallSUGAR. Construction is ongoing next door for the expansion, which the owners hope to open by early spring.

“Pre-COVID, we thought we needed the extra space … now in the light of COVID we want to stretch into the extra space to social distance,” said co-owner Stanton Scoma.

The expansion will also potentially open the door for other opportunities, like hosting discussions from local professors and others, and to use as a rentable private space, said Scoma, whose wife Lindsey primarily manages the cafe.

The most obvious boon is in the increased seating. Currently, the shop can seat about 22 in its interior, along with a back patio for outdoor seating. Scoma estimated that number will grow to about 50.

The expanded space is a positive for more than just the Scomas. Katie Wilson will use a portion of it to establish a physical location for her wedding photography business.

The decision to expand the coffee shop was also influenced by other factors. Initially, the husband-and-wife duo wanted to open a co-working space, but a forthcoming one nearby made them decide otherwise.

“We felt like the individual that was opening would meet the need pretty well,” Scoma said. “We always want to support the businesses in the area and not overlap.”

The shop opened in July 2019 on the far end of State Street, where it helped bolster a set of artistic and other new of businesses to match the street's more developed stretch in West Columbia. He noted the City of Cayce has helped amplify that scene through its mural program, which fits nicely along spots like State of the Art, Swatch Graphics, and the Dialed Bicycles Repair Shop.

Less than a year after opening Piecewise, the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, which Scoma said has made for a confounding time to run a coffee shop. There’s inherently competing values between safe behavior in a pandemic and a coffee shop’s role in the community.

“They’re treated as this third space between the home and the work. Where you can go and connect with different people in different ways,” he elaborated. “The concept of restaurants, and coffee in particular, you go to have these experiences and COVID has not allowed these experiences to play out the way you intend.”

Recently, the shop reopened for partial indoor seating, which has helped fill that gap. Additionally, it’s helped them forge new opportunities, like the espresso-barista catering wing Piecewise Mini.

Deciding to expand amid the pandemic was a challenge, but one that was necessary.

“We felt like it met the long-term goals of Piecewise, but the short term mechanisms to achieving it, (you) start to kind of question implementing the long-term goals in light of the unknown of COVID,” he said. “But we really do love our space in Cayce, we love our customers and we really felt like this was our next step.”

David Clarey joined Free Times in November 2019 as a food and news writer. He's constantly fighting competing desires to try cooking food at home and spending his entire paycheck on Columbia restaurants.

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