June 3, 2023

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were forced to work from home. Kitchens once decorated with pots and pans were turned into makeshift offices filled with webcams and ring lights and bedrooms became classrooms. The weekday chaos consumed both students and workers alike. Three years later and people still trying to find an escape from doing work at home. Luckily for Brockport residents, there are many places to escape.

Grinds Cafe 

A sunny afternoon outside of Grinds Cafe Monday, Mar. 20, 2023 (Canalside Chronicles/Kristen Beard)

Grinds Cafe is a locally owned coffee shop in Brockport that was opened in 2015. The cafe serves as both a place to eat and a place to get some work done. 

Melanie Gminski is an employee at Grinds Cafe who has made notice of the increase of college-aged students coming into the cafe. 

“We see a lot of college students in here to study or do work. Some come in just a little before their 8 am class. Others come in and work for hours,” Gminski said.

Though many college students do come through the shop. They don’t seem to be the shop’s largest demographic according to employee Kwame Marah.

“I think our biggest demographic is definitely 55 plus and office workers. We see a handful of students as well, but definitely more older people. They come in either to chat for a little or just to get some work done,” Marah said.

Kwame Marah helping a customer on Monday, Mar. 20, 2023 (Canalside Chronicles/Kristen Beard)

This was exactly the case for digital marketing employee Courtney Jansen. 

“I work from home a lot so sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house. Working from my actual home can become a little repetitive. Just the atmosphere here  they play good music to work too and it’s relatively quiet,” said Jansen 

Matthew Veihdeffer came to Grinds Cafe for the first time recently after having car troubles. 

“I’m actually only here because my car is getting some work done and West Herr took me here as a courtesy,” said customer Matthew Veihdeffer. 

Even though Veihdeffer was only there for the car issues, he may have found a new place to get his work done.

“Oh, I think I will for sure comeback. I mostly work from home or in an office so today was an oddball day. I like it though it’s relatively quiet and I really like the classical music,” said Veihdeffer

Java Junction

Java Junction is located at 56 Main St. in Brockport Sunday, Mar. 26, 2023 (Canalside Chronicles/Kristen Beard)

The shop opened in 1995 and is now a hotspot for students looking to get work done.

Harvey Bell has worked at Java Junction for a long time and basically runs the shop. During his time working there, he has noticed many students stop by to do work

“I mostly see students in here doing work. During the week we get a lot of off-campus students however, on weekends it’s mostly those who do live on campus,” said Bell

Brockport student Erin Wall getting some homework done at Java Junction on in Brockport Sunday, Mar. 26, 2023 (Canalside Chronicles/Kristen Beard)

For those who want to get work done, there are multiple seating arrangements. Some allow for more privacy while others are more open. In addition to that, there is a vast menu of both breakfast and lunch options. 

“It’s a very relaxed place, it’s very welcoming, and very good prices on the excellent food,” said Bell

Not only does the cafe offer food and a place to study, but Java Junctions also hosts events. Their latest event was “The Last Sunday Open Mic.”

The Golden Eagles String Band Eric Carlson (left) Brian Hullfish (middle) and Mike Mumford performing a traditional canal song at Java Junction Sunday, Mar. 26, 2023 (Canalside Chronicles/Kristen Beard)

Every last Sunday of the month from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm the folk music band The Golden Eagles String Band hosts an open mic event. This event is open to everyone who may want to perform anything at all. Not just music.

Drake Memorial Library

For students who maybe don’t have a car or the will to walk to these local coffee shops, Drake Library is the perfect place. 

Like many other students, Peri Leonardi finds it very difficult to work at home and take advantage of the on-campus places to do work such as Drake Library. 

“I honestly come here because it is impossible for me to do work at home. There are too many distractions there like my bed, my TV, and my dogs. It’s just an impossible situation. I would never get anything done.” Leonardi said.

On top of being pretty much free of distractions, the library is also a neutral spot. This may seem like a bad thing however, it has everything a student may need. Nothing more, nothing less.

There are multiple seating areas, printers, and even private study rooms.

“Yea I do think it is kind of bland in here, but it checks out. I wouldn’t be able to work if it had all these crazy things going on. That’s why I don’t really go to coffee shops. I need absolute peace and no distractions of any kind. It also has everything I need as far as school. So yea no complaints,” Leonardi said.

The mundane environment and resources are all some students may need. However, for other students like Alex Maza, it simply comes down to the vibe.  

“I like that it’s quiet, but what I like most is everyone is working. It’s like motivation. I want to do my work because of everyone else. It also low key a competition like I need to be working harder than the person next to me,” Maza said.

Despite the chaos working from home may have brought about. There are plenty of places in Brockport to escape to when you need that little break from home.

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