McCORDSVILLE – Ja’Nene Gillam knows how much of a community hub her father’s barber shop was before he passed away earlier this year.
She plans for it to be a local gathering spot once more as she sets out to develop a coffee shop on the property.
Her father, Gary Wiley, ran the barber shop with the train caboose parked outside at the southeast corner of Broadway Street and Mt. Comfort Road in McCordsville for over 40 years. He died from cancer in March at age 75.
“One of the things that really spoke to me was when my father passed away, a lot of the customers felt that there was no place to come back to,” Gillam said.
It prompted her and her husband, Brian Gillam, to think about what else could be done with the property.
“We have a love for coffee and tea and we have a love for the community,” she said. “And McCordsville’s growing. We saw that there’s a huge need for a coffee shop. It’s a place for everyone to come and be able to come back and remember my father, and talk to one another, and see the train caboose. It’s an iconic piece of the community.”
Gillam’s goal is for demolition to begin on the former barber shop by the end of this month. She hopes to break ground on a new building in early fall and open early next year.
“It’s a small building, so hopefully it won’t take too long to get it up and built,” she said.
The caboose is staying, and will be one of the seating areas in the new cafe.
The business will be called Coffee at the Crossing and feature the tagline, “A local java junction,” preserving the locomotive theme her father maintained at the property for decades.
Plans call for seating on the future building’s main floor, a loft and rooftop. Along with coffee drinks and teas, snacks like donuts, pastries and muffins will also be available. The business will be open in the mornings and early afternoons, and offer mobile ordering as well. Gillam plans to use Zionsville-based Julian Coffee Roasters for most drinks.