Despite the struggles of being a business owner during a time of economic uncertainty, Josh Molina, founder of Makers & Finders, has successfully opened a sister cafe called Take It Easy in Chinatown. I had the chance to interview Josh at Take It Easy before its opening on July 15th. I was inspired by his positive attitude about the last few months and the near future, especially because everyday life is constantly changing for people in Las Vegas.
Makers & Finders is a bustling, high energy fusion cafe that serves authentic dishes from Central and South America. Take It Easy has a focus on unique Columbian cheese breads and pastries. Additionally, Take It Easy also has an in house roastery which will roast coffee beans for their existing locations in Summerlin and Downtown. Josh Molina is a first generation Colombian American, born in New York City but a long time resident of Las Vegas. He is a UNLV alumni, having graduated in 2010.
Although the pandemic pushed back their initial start date in April, Josh found that it actually gave him an opportunity to perfect his craft and develop the concept of the new store in a way that he didn’t get to do with either of the Makers & Finders locations. For the first two cafes, he mentioned that they didn’t have any private investors, so they were pressured to make immediate income to make up for the money they invested themselves.
“This, to me, was very beautiful, personally, because I was able to really focus,” he said about the time quarantine gave him. The time he took gave him clarity.
Interestingly, Josh and his team were already developing an app before Las Vegas went into lockdown. Their app, Makers & Finders Rewards, launched at the beginning of the shut down, which allowed customers to place an order, enter vehicle descriptions for curbside, and alert the employees of their arrival all from their phone.
“Now the app is used almost regularly,” he said. “We have almost 2,000 downloads.”
This, along with the implementation of QR code menus, allowed the cafes to quickly adapt to their new situations. I asked Josh if reopening for dine in was a difficult decision. They opened three days after Las Vegas entered Phase 2 of reopening, but Josh states that they were very motivated to reopen. One of the biggest motivations was getting his staff their jobs back.
“We’re thankful we did, because we’re rocking right now,” he elaborated.
I asked how the employees reacted to the changes upon their return.
“It’s a different pace, a different flow, but the way we’ve adapted to it was faster, better, and more efficient than I ever anticipated,” he said, radiating positivity.
Josh’s attitude from the beginning of the pandemic seems to have never faltered. He advises that people consider this time as one of opportunity.
“The only thing I’d say to a business owner or someone striving to become one, is that this is a very opportunistic time, in my opinion, which is why we are pushing forward to open our new location in Chinatown,” he stated. Although many feel uncertain as mandates and government orders are constantly changing, he encourages people to “develop a sense of resiliency and an ability to ride the waves.”
To see Josh’s success, you can visit the following websites: