By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Robert Is Here is a South Florida institution, a famous tropical fruit stand that draws tourists and regulars from far and wide.

After being in operation for decades, it was forced to change how it did business in response to the coronavirus pandemic by opening a drive-thru.

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Because of COVID, only eight customers were allowed in the store.

“Eight people at a time in my store just was not going to do it,” said owner Robert Moehling.

So what to do? How about some country ingenuity meets kind of hi-tech.

Thinking out of the box, Robert’s kids cooked up a drive-thru and that seemed to work, though they found it overwhelming at times.

“The customer would have to hang around in their air-conditioned cars as long as an hour and a half to get all their goodies, tropical fruits, and milkshakes,” Moehling said.

But customers put up with it.

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Robert’s family and employees made it work and it kept the business alive.

“I was so happy to see them open today and be able to support the farmers,” a customer said.

The drive-thru is gone now and the store has been revamped in an effort to deal with social distancing.

“We knocked down the vegetable wall, moved it over where the girls used to cut up the fruit and they got moved to the back, more secluded,” Moehling said.

At Robert’s, it is back to “the new normal.”

“We said verbally to every single customer when they went through, thank you very much, you don’t know how much it means to me,” Moehling said.

Robert said making that drive-thru work was the hardest thing he has ever done, saying “thank you” was easy.

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Robert is Here Fruit Stand is located in the 19200 block of SW 344th St in Homestead.