Love Your Neighbor. Follow Your Dream
In retirement, Kate Lewis Brown is following her dream. She is loving her neighbor, especially neighbors in recovery, by opening a coffee shop and worship center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Watch Kate on my YouTube channel or read about Kate below.
Kate's dream began in the summer of 2019 while learning about 1001 New Worshiping Communities. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Kate formed a leadership team with membership made up of pastors and lay leaders. The team explored many ideas with a focus on providing a safe space for people recovering from substance abuse. Soon, the team settled on opening a coffee shop to provide a gathering space for recovery groups and offer worship services on Sunday afternoons.
In 2020, the pandemic slowed down the project's progress, yet the time allowed for deeper reflection and research. The team received a grant for the project and sought non-profit status. Kate spoke about the challenges of becoming a non-profit.
In June, unfortunately we learned that a coffee shop operated by a church cannot be non-profit. This gave us some heartache. We now consider the project as two halves of a whole. We will have the for-profit coffee shop and the non-profit worship center.
In 2021, Kate attended a three-day master class on the requirements in starting a coffee shop. In looking back on this time in her life, she laughed at the fact she traveled to Texas for a two-day barista training. How could she ever become a barista? However, the training in Texas brought clarity to the project's vision in West Virginia. As Kate learned the techniques of making lattes and cappuccinos, she also learned the high costs of speciality drinks. The expensive coffees did not seem to match the anticipated income of their clients. So the team decided on serving fair trade coffee instead, both regular and decaf, along with additional drinks such as teas, sodas, and hot chocolate. They wanted to provide a good cup of coffee at a reasonable price for their future customers.
In December of 2021, the team received another grant which provided the needed start-up money for business. Since that time, they leased a space for the coffee shop and incorporated as Community Cup Coffee & More, LLC. Kate, and her husband John, have spent hours ordering equipment, refinishing the floors, meeting with city official, setting up wi-fi, and choosing paint colors.
Hopefully, in the next few months Kate's dream will become a reality. The next time you are driving through the beautiful hills of West Virginia, be sure to visit Community Coffee Cup & More for a cup of coffee that will nourish your body as well as your soul.