Five years ago, Jen and Ricci Amador took a leap of faith and opened the 8th Street Coffee House downtown. That leap turned into a coffee house and restaurant that was overflowing with customers. But Jen didn’t always sell coffee. “I was a receptionist for a long time”, Jen said. “It was so boring. I don’t think I could ever sit behind a desk again”. Jen later found a job at the coffee shop in the hospital. “I loved making coffee”, she said with a smile. “I love coffee.” That love led her to open her own business, which was recently expanded into the old Corner Emporium shop next door. With this expansion comes a new name, 8th Street Coffee House Café and Corner Market. But as the name suggests, they aren’t just serving coffee and food; they will also have a small grocery store.
They have punched a hole through the wall that divided the two spaces and will continue to operate in the original location as well. “Obviously we always wanted to have this space, but the grocery store idea came about when we found out that the owner was going to turn the floors upstairs into apartments”, Jen said. “Several apartments will be going in above us and that is a big plus for us, and we are a big plus for them. We carry your basic grocery items, and more specialty items will be added as we go”, Jen said. “We will also have “grab and go” ready-made lunches with soups, salads, and sandwiches. Our specialty items include local honey, soaps, lotions, candles, and items from Smarty Plants Teas and Tinctures. We will grow as we go, depending on demand”, Jen added. With so many people living downtown, not to mention the number of people that now come downtown to frequent the stores and restaurants, they expect to grow considerably.
Music is also a big part of their new business plan. “The kind of thing that we are creating is a place for local artists to play”, Ricci said. “I want everything acoustic, and we will have full bands that are acoustic. It is a good challenge for a band to do acoustic music. We are also very family friendly and want people to bring their kids. There is nowhere in town for kids to see live music except for the outdoor venues. We are different”, Ricky stressed. “If you want to rock your head off, you can go to other places.”
“I think the business reflects who we are”, Ricci said. “We are humble, down to earth people. I want it to be comfortable so that anyone can come in”.
One of their best kept secrets is the delicious breakfast items they serve upon request all day. “We have Sundays that we hardly serve lunch at all”, said business manager D’Ann Delcoure, who happens to be Jen’s sister.
It is no secret, though, how popular the 8th Street Coffee House is now. “We started with 3 employees, and now have 11, and we will probably hire another 3”, Jen said with a smile. “We have grown.” D’Ann added, “Our daily numbers have doubled what we did last year”. With all they have to offer, it will be no surprise that the combination 8th Street Coffee House Café and Corner Market will be a huge success. And that’s no secret either.