BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Jennifer Gurley recently moved to Bellows Falls. She is from Upstate New York and lived for a time near Burlington where she thought of and liked the idea of opening a coffee shop. When she and her partner, both interested in history and restoration, moved to Bellows Falls they saw, liked, and acquired the building at the north end of the Square that most locals associate with a long tenancy by Sovernet.
But the building has had a number of occupants before and after that time. Some might remember it as Baldisaro’s Fruit Market, or an Army and Navy shop, a bike shop, and an antiques shop. Behind it is the empty lot where Onna’s Restaurant stood.
Gurley’s building was saved when Oona’s burned down in the 2000s, and now she says they are “practically rebuilding it” from the inside out to be a coffee roasting business with a coffee shop and additionally a wine bar that will be open on some nights of the week.
Gurley envisions coffee beans being roasted in the shop with the smell permeating the air and retail for freshly brewed coffee and beans to take home with “simple good food – simple meats and cheeses.”
Her target is to finish the building renovation and open the shop this coming fall. Gurley does not see herself competing with the Flat Iron Exchange Coffee Shop at the other end of The Square. She sees the businesses as providing a different setting and purpose and complimenting each other. Currently, the owners have a cordial relationship.
But her coffee roasting business is already started and going full steam. Gurley has an efficient, environmentally friendly coffee roaster that the owners of the Wunderbar Restaurant have let her set up temporarily in their commercial kitchen. She says she began going door-to-door selling her beans wholesale and began taking orders on the internet.
Business is so good a second larger roaster has been ordered and is expected to arrive next month. Both roasters will eventually be a part of her shop.
Gurley says, “I love coffee and I couldn’t find the kind I like to drink anymore that I could afford. So five years ago I started roasting it at home. Some friends said I should sell it.” She says. “We make creamy rich coffees.”
Light roasts are currently popular and the super dark are at the other end. Her coffee is in the middle. A number of local retailers are carrying her coffee, and she can be found at www.rockinghamroasters.com.