BEELINE FOR REFRESHMENT: Serial-entrepreneur couple further business presence in Fortville with spot for beverages, snacks

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Beeline Beverage & Snack will offer coffees form a local roaster and unusual soda drinks, such as the Orange Caboose.

FORTVILLE — When Zack and Krista Schuyler opened their music school on the second floor of a downtown Fortville building last year, they got the keys to the space downstairs on the same day.

While they weren’t sure what to do with that part just yet, they knew it wouldn’t be dormant for long.

“We’re pivoters,” Zack said. “We love the hustle of business. The destination’s not the end game, it is the journey, it’s the hustle. We love it.”

That journey has led the couple to open Beeline Beverage &Snack, where they offer coffee drinks, gourmet sodas and live entertainment. The venture satisfies their cravings for community as well as entrepreneurial ideas off the beaten path.

Located at 14 S. Main St., Beeline Beverage &Snack is named after the former name of the railroad not far from the property. The building was built circa 1880, and its first floor was most recently a dentist office before the owner had it remodeled.

Upstairs is Fortville Music Garage, a school that teaches musical instruments, dance and other aspects of music that the Schuylers opened just over a year ago.

“We had been talking for a while about the possibility of a coffee shop, just because we’re semi coffee snobs,” Krista said with a laugh. “And I’ve always wanted to do a little cafe or something.”

The business’s coffee comes from P1 Coffee Co., a Fortville-based roaster, which also makes a Beeline house blend.

Beverages with sodas from Boylan Bottling Company, syrups and whipped cream are on the menu as well. Zack got the idea for those from entrepreneurs he follows and decided to give it a shot one day when he came home with orange soda, to which he added vanilla syrup and whipped cream.

“It was amazing,” he said.

The concoction went on to become Beeline’s Orange Caboose drink. Cream soda serves as the base for the shop’s signature Beeline beverage. Root beer- and Shirley Temple-based drinks are also available.

Customers can buy half-gallon growlers to fill with their favorite coffees and sodas to take home and bring back for refills. The idea was inspired by a beverage business outside of Seattle Zack heard about that used growlers and curbside service to survive the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Grab-and-go snacks like muffins and candy are available at Beeline too. The business employs eight workers, and uses cashless payment.

A stage is just inside the storefront, where a house band plays made up of Fortville Music Garage’s advanced students. The Schuylers also plan to host open mic nights and other performances.

“We’re connected with a lot of local artists, but also national touring acts,” Zack said. “The goal is to bring bigger names through here.”

They’d like to hold events like trivia and bingo as well.

“We’re avid believers in community,” Zack said. “We want to see people together. We want to be able to help facilitate that.”

Krista, who has a business degree, has always been drawn to entrepreneurship and recalled how her first job as an administrative assistant left her unfulfilled.

“I was stuck in a cubicle all day, and I hated every minute of it,” she said. “It wasn’t giving me life at all.”

She started her first business — an in-home day care, which she ran for almost a decade.

“I’m also a control freak,” she added with a laugh. “I’m in control of what happens here. I don’t have anybody over my head saying ‘no,’ or not giving me that promotion, or telling me I can’t do something. I can. And if I need to pivot wherever I need to pivot, I can do it.”

The Schuylers said Beeline wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the community created by Fortville Music Garage, which has grown to become a dealer for a top guitar brand and enlist a hip hop dance instructor who choreographed Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime performance.

It’s also how Beeline got its assistant manager, who’s a Fortville Music Garage mom with over a decade of experience in the coffee business.

“The community and families here at Fortville Music Garage are the reason why we were able to open Beeline,” Krista said. “They invested in us, they invested in our space, and they gave us their time, they gave us their money, and love, and just poured so much into us.”

The business is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and closed on Sundays.