Coffee & Community
Updated: Mar 20
At least once or twice a week, I am lured through the door of a coffee shop prefering to cross over a threshold rather than drive around a building for my favorite brew. Whenever I step into a coffee shop, even if it is for a moment, my body feels the exchange from chaos to tranquility. Many coffee shops ask your name for the order, but I stumbled upon a coffee shop that goes beyond asking your name to learning who you are instead.
A few months ago, a friend treated me to a cup of coffee at Rx Coffee & More in Verona. I was pleasantly surprised at the large space and welcoming atmosphere. The entire space was updated from the floor to the ceiling. Along the walls hung a variety of artwork showcased by track lighting. The creative and intentional seating arrangements invited guests to sit down and enjoy a break from the day. One corner resembled a living room with a leather couch and two leather chairs. Towards the back of the shop, a small room favored a dining room with a long table and six high back chairs. Also, small tables with two or four chairs were scattered throughout the shop.
On my first visit, I met the coffee shop owner, Patrick O'Shea. Within a few minutes, I learned he was a Pharmacist and a Presbyterian. Patrick's former career and current faith intrigued my curiosity. He spoke about how in 2020 he and his wife, who were both pharmacists, stopped dispensing pills across a counter and transformed a local pharmacy into a coffee shop. After two years of remodeling, Rx Coffee & More opened in Verona, Virginia. Throughout the coffee shop, remnants from the pharmacy remain such as stained-glass windows, pills embedded in the tabletops, and store shelves of vitamins for purchase.
What makes a person change from being a pharmacist to a coffee shop owner? For Patrick, the change began on February 29, 2012. On leap day, his life took a drastic step toward death during a thunderstorm. That morning around 9 a.m. a lightning strike hit their well pump and sent electricity into the house. Patrick went downstairs to see what happened and noticed smoke in the basement. A small fire began in the subpanel of the basement. He returned upstairs, coughing. He thought the coughing was due to the dust and pet dander. They called 911. Firefighters extinguished the small fire downstairs. After the fire was out, Patrick was still coughing. He sought medical attention by entering the back of the ambulance. Since he was a pharmacist, he talked with the medic about his prognosis. They took him to Augusta Health. Before Patrick passed out, tests determined he had cyanide poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, and smoke inhalation.
Patrick was then transferred by helicopter from Augusta Health to UVA Hospital. Before Patrick reached the helicopter, his heart stopped beating. His heart did not beat for fifteen minutes during the ride over from Fishersville to Charlottesville Just before the helicopter touched down, Patrick's heart began to beat. Patrick remained in the hospital until March 17. He expressed his gratitude to the medical staff, his family, and the prayers from the community. Now, Patrick is giving back to the community that saved his life through providing a place for coffee and to build community. Meet Patrick and listen to his story by clicking on the video below.
On my second visit to Rx Coffee & More, Ewan took my order and inquired about my day. I spoke about finishing my a sermon at the coffee shop that afternoon. Then, Ewan spoke about his faith and his musical gifts. I enjoyed Ewan's authentic and energetic spirit.
Later that day, I pulled out the receipt and noticed the "name" Ewan gave for my coffee order. As shared earlier, I visit a lot of coffee shops. Many coffee shops ask your name, while others learn who you are. Thanks Rx Coffee, I will be back!