SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In the city of Syracuse, a business that started on a mission to pay it forward is finding new ways to keep that going.

Salt City Coffee had to close its doors but the team got creative and opened up its back window to keep serving customers.

“Right now we’re just focused on paying our employees,” said owner Maria Metthe. “As long as we can make payroll we’ll keep going.”

Loyal customers and support from other small businesses are what’s keeping their coffee beans roasting.

“Maria here, I’ve known her for a while, and it’s just great to see her face when I came out to get coffee, great to see a smile,” said Beth Eischen, a customer.

Eischen is a customer but she also owns Lilipad Creations and she knows first-hand the impact of COVID-19, which is why, like many other struggling business owners, she’ll keep supporting people like Metthe.

“We want them [employees] to feel safe, we want our customers to feel safe, and we also want to be there for the neighborhood, which is a really big part of our mission,” said Metthe.

It’s a mission to pay it forward. Customers can buy a token for the ‘pay it forward’ wall, essentially buying a coffee for someone who needs it.

“We’re also doing free drip coffee for all service workers, police officers, mailmen, EMTs, hospital staff,” said Metthe. “We donated coffee to St. Joe’s emergency room hospital yesterday, so staying open actually allows us to really help the community and be a support for the community.”

They can only continue to do that though if the community is also supporting them.

“For some restaurants, it’s gonna be between life and death or coming back or not,” said Metthe.

“If we can get out and be responsible in our social distancing and support these businesses, it’s super important to keep them afloat,” said Eischen.

Each small business hoping more and more people will continue to support local. “Everybody feels it when people are coming out when people are buying,” said Metthe.

Salt City Coffee is also delivering bags of coffee to customers from Manlius to Camillus.

They’ve shortened their hours from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.