INMAN — Katy Reinecker is still grinning from ear to ear over the new floor in Inman Harvest Cafe, a project made possible by her regular customers, family and friends.
The cafe's dining area was covered with carpet and linoleum that was put in place in 1987. Over time, it gathered the stains and stickiness from food being dropped on the floor.
"It was bad," Reinecker said. "We had had it professionally cleaned a couple of times and it didn't matter."
Reinecker and her husband have run the cafe for nearly 12 years. Around six weeks ago, she was approached by one of her regular customers who told her several people had noticed the carpet needed to be replaced.
Reinecker told the customer other repairs — appliances, air conditioning, etc. — had taken priority, as well as any money they had worked to save up for the project.
"It was at this point that my friend handed me a large amount of cash. This friend said, 'We love you, replace your floor,'" Reinecker posted on Facebook.
The gesture left Reinecker, well, floored.
"I about fell down, honestly, it was so unexpected," Reinecker said. "We're a small business, so we're kind of on our own. Places that are franchise have corporate support. We just have ourselves."
Reinecker discussed the gift with her parents, who own the cafe's building. They all agreed that the money should be spent with local vendors.
"Because we are a small business, we must support other small businesses whenever we can," Reinecker said.
The Reineckers met with Terry Isaac, of Pioneer Supply in Inman, who looked into flooring options for them.
"He did a lot of research for us and came back with a product that we thought would be perfect," Reinecker said. "The price was more than we had, though. Terry worked it down to the least amount per square foot that he could. I'm sure he sacrificed some profit for us."
The Reineckers ordered the luxury vinyl plank flooring, the most durable option, and placed underlayment, a project that meant moving their buffet.
"My brother-in-law, Jon Reinecker, and friends Matt Sisson and Drew Luty came to help get it up on dollies," Reinecker acknowledged. "My brother, Jon Thiessen, sacrificed his Sunday to help with this as well."
Another hurdle presented itself when the flooring arrived — the Reineckers realized their chairs would scratch up the material.
"Progress stopped while we waited on new end caps to arrive," Reinecker said. "When they arrived, my kids replaced them — all 300 end caps."
During that time, $500 more was donated to the flooring project. The cafe opened Tuesday with its brand-new floor reflecting the lights hanging from the ceiling.
"It looks bigger, even though that part hasn't changed at all," Reinecker said.
Reinecker is grateful to all who helped make the new floor possible, whether through a donation of time or money.
"This story is not about food, it's about friendship and family," Reinecker stated in her post. "It's about why I love what I do and who I do it with."