Coffee shop, general store to open near courthouse square

GREENFIELD — After a long morning laboring on a downtown Greenfield job site last summer, Jay Cook needed a break. He headed outside, thinking he’d stroll some place downtown and grab a soda, when it dawned on him his options were few. He had to hop in the car and drive somewhere just to buy a Coke.

And that inconvenience sparked an idea that’s now become a business venture — the city’s only locally-owned coffee shop.

Cook’s Coffee and Goods, 2 American Legion Place, is slated to open in downtown Greenfield by April. The store will serve specialty coffees, snacks and other drinks and double as a general store, selling items like aspirin and hygiene products.

Cook, a general contractor, will co-own the business with his wife, Cara. The Hancock County natives have spent the past year renovating and cleaning up the building’s interior, which formerly housed the card shop, Four Sharp Corners, in the strip of shops east of the county courthouse.

The couple wants the shop to have an old-time general store feel with some modern touches for convenience, Jay Cook said.

With Starbucks being the only other coffee shop in the city, a business start-up like theirs might seem daunting. But Cara Cook is unfazed.

Cook’s Coffee and Goods aims to cater to employees who frequent the courthouse and other downtown businesses, Cara Cook said. In addition to a fountain soda machine and freshly ground coffee, they hope to offer items like cough drops, miscellaneous grab-and-go food items or even gift cards for the panicked customer who forgot their boss’s birthday.

“To me, it’s kind of a different vibe,” Cara Cook said. “Personally, I don’t even see (Starbucks) as competition, because it’s designed for a separate crowd.”

The shop will contain a seating area with chairs and tables, a television, free Wifi and a well-stocked coffee bar offering cappuccinos, tea, lattes, iced coffee and more.

The Cooks also plan for their shop to feature a delivery service to the downtown area, she said. They hope to deliver coffee, sandwiches and any other products that customers might want.

The idea has brought plenty of positive feedback as the community anticipates the shop’s grand opening, the couple said.

“I didn’t know how popular an idea it was going to be until people constantly started calling us, asking when we would open,” Cara Cook said.

Amy Ikerd, a court treatment specialist at the Hancock County Courthouse, is eager to have a place so close to work where she can get her morning cup of joe.

“I know my coworkers and I are happy and excited about it, because we love to support those independent, locally owned businesses,” Ikerd said. “I can literally see it from my window.”

A coffee shop is exactly what downtown greenfield needs, said director of Greenfield Main Street Shelley Swift. Cook’s Coffee and Goods will finally provide folks who spend time downtown with a place to sit down and relax or have an informal business meeting, she said.

Having a general store in the area is an added bonus for people who work downtown and don’t have the time or means to drive to a grocery store in the middle of the day, Swift added.

“I think any successful downtown has a few essentials, and a coffee shop is one of those,” Swift said. “This is just another piece to that puzzle in building the perfect historic downtown destination.”

Jay Cook plans to continue doing construction work, and Cara Cook will continue working her part-time job as a veterinary technician, but the duo hopes running Cook’s Coffee and Goods will become their retirement plan. Both are eager to be part the ever-developing downtown area.

“I was born and raised here in Greenfield, so it will be exciting to join in that growth,” Cara Cook said. “We can’t wait to be a part of that community.”

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Evan Myers is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3228 or emyers@greenfieldreporter.com.