…a coffee shop journal…
It’s a bit hard to focus this morning since I am starring at a wall of pictures, which are all cockeyed (now there’s a word… right?). Ya see I want to get up and straighten them but i fear that it might lead to dusting or straightening the pictures on the other wall or washing a window, or organizing the book shelves or the magazines and maybe even being sure the games are all in order…and you know how that goes…distraction can be our greatest enemy…but than again….
Rick and I have just come back from a few days spent in Asheville we needed a distraction and we needed some JoAnn and Rick time. It was 3 years ago in December that we first looked at the building at 131 North Main St, which is now The Martyn House In Towne.
The first 4 months were spent negotiating the purchase~~ the next 9 months were spent sitting in banks and working with the SBA trying to get money to renovate~~ finally as fate would have it we found a little company called ACE- access capitol for entrepreneurs ~~ they loved our idea and our plan and they partnered with us~~and it began…architectural designs…contractors…permits…redoing architectural designs…more contractors…more permits…design decisions were made daily and often revised the next day…..nights involved 3:00 wake-ups and writing down ideas or sketching out a room. This involved constant attention and so there was not a moment to get away from the craziness. And let us not forget we were in high season with our Glamping business as well. Seven months later after the first of what were to be many ‘demolition days’ as we called them …..we were now ready to open! Then there was stocking food /writing a menu / hiring staff/ and training… ..training… training… seriously I hardly remember much of those days.
For the next 12 months there was keeping an eye on every detail …money went out faster than it came in…tightening the reins on the business required constant attention ….you hire too many people to start with and certainly more than the business can support……then you listen to everyone’s ideas of what you should and should not do ……and believe me everyone has an opinion…and then one day BOOM you have a complete meltdown and you are forced to regroup—mine involved a trip to California and many long walks on the beach…you go back to your own instincts and vision and you refocus and then for what is maybe the first time since the day you looked at the building to buy it you feel like you might actually have a bit of control.
Then here you are 18 months later….. January 2016 three years after the dream was initially born and we are taking our first trip away. I need to mention here that we also in this time frame went through a few employees trying to get a cultural fit for us …fought city council for a year trying to get a pouring license (we had a music venue and brought in incredible artists that ended after a year due to not getting this license), we found Shana who manages things when I am not here and has made my life sooooooo much better –we love her!!!! And I know you do too if you have been to our coffee shop! And then we moved from our farm to our loft above the coffee shop! And today we are officially listing our farm for sale so we can focus on this business completely.
After a few hours in Asheville I had one of those moments of why on earth do we live in Ellijay where everything seems so hard??? You walk the streets of Asheville with the numerous restaurants and shops. You see and feel that alternative vibe that I personally love…you begin to think about all that must happen here …..the awesome lectures, plays and music, the ARTS oh my gosh…..the food coops and grocers. I could hardly take it all in those few days….i craved the inspiration I saw everywhere and the creativity!
It was our last day there and I found out I had not yet visited what some thought was the best coffee shop in town. We went there early in the morning before the world had woken up. The shop was clean and the barista made me the prettiest latte with a swan on it…yes I will be perfecting that in the coming days….as the sun came up the folks came out …each in their own little world…I am sure some were tourists, others locals with there clicks, a few loners. The baristas were steady.. getting orders filled and then I realized something that was not here. Where was the community connection?
There is not a day in our shop that I am not introducing so and so to so and so ….or finding out where a couple is visiting from or where they are heading. It was always my intention that we connect our community with our coffee shop and our creativity was a way of expressing who we are! When we left the shop that morning I looked at Rick and we both affirmed that we are right where we belong…..our little town of Ellijay with its two streets might only have one or two restaurants, and we might not have a lecture tonight on sustainable living but why could we not have that right here at the coffee shop? We really can be anything we want to be –all that is required is someone to start it. As Asheville disappeared in our back window we felt an even bigger commitment to our home……where hiking, biking, kayaking or just sitting on your porch listening to the cicadas is a way of life- We know our customers by name and the news is slowly spreading that we are here …..and it looks like we are here to stay!
about the author…JoAnn
I am an accomplished artist, designer and gardener with an admitted compulsion for natural intuitive healing and a spiritual connection with the earth. I am a lifelong serial entrepreneur, a creator of extraordinary ideas, and soon to be published author …..let the dreaming begin….