The Springfield-Greene County Library District is seeking to fill coffee-vendor vacancies brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jim Schmidt, associate director, said potential vendors have until 5 p.m. Dec. 3 to submit bids for the Library Center and the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library.
"With the branches closing during the pandemic, the vendors we had in place had to leave," said Schmidt. "They've been vacant since roughly March of 2020."
Mudhouse Coffee previously operated the coffee shop at the Library Center since 2008, with Big Momma's Coffee and Espresso Bar running the venture at Midtown Carnegie since 2012, Schmidt said. Both had to exit due to the Library District's pandemic response, which required branches to be closed to foot traffic before a slow reopening process.
"When we did reopen, our traffic was pretty slow. For both of them, it wasn't sustainable," Schmidt said.
Now, the Library District is seeing a return in foot traffic to near pre-pandemic levels. That led to the requests for proposal process that opened earlier this month.
Schmidt said the former vendors and other coffee shop operators in town are welcome to bid on the contracts. Previously, the vendors operated on a lease structure in which payments increased as sales rose, though he said that's not set in stone as negotiations for the contracts are made this time around.
The Library District has received about five inquiries since the RFP opened, he said.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May the all-items inflation index surged 8.6% over the past year, the highest increase since 1981.