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Wishbones Coffee Shop & Cafe

Ross Boissoneau - May 23rd, 2011
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
That’s one way of looking at Wishbones, the coffeshop and café located smack dab in the middle of Cedar Creek Interiors furnishings and design store on Union Street.
Or you could look at it as a unique innovation, something that’s in vogue in some of the trend-setting areas of the country.
Kim Hooker says they’re both true.
“It’s something they’re doing in other places,” said Hooker, half the team at Cedar Creek Interiors, prior to the café’s opening. 
She also says that seeing other companies and stores going out of business locally and across the country gave them the impetus to try something different.
Hooker, an accredited designer, said she and her partner, owner Kevin Graves, were seeking a way to lend some new cachet to their store.
At the same time, Mark Fowler, one of the former principals at another local coffee shop, was looking for a new location. 
Opportunity, meet necessity. So Graves and Hooker began brainstorming with Fowler and his partner, Sarah Montgomery. “It’s about two couples who live together and work together – you’ve got to love that,” said Hooker.

A NEW LOOK
And almost overnight – after plans, demolition, construction, inspections, more plans, more inspections, more renovation, and finally approval – the dual business finally debuted.
Overnight? Graves and Hooker can smile about it now, but Cedar Creek Interiors was closed for the better part of February and March, as the premises underwent renovation. 
It wasn’t just about the addition of the café in the midst of the furniture store. To coincide with the new approach, Graves and Hooker decided a new look was in order for the rest of the store as well. They opted for a decreased emphasis on the lodge feel, with its dark colors and dark woods, and instead embraced a coastal ambience.
That’s reflected in the choices of lighter colors, such as the turquoise hue in the back half of the store that brings to mind the region’s water and sky, and the durable finishes on the furniture and fabrics.
Of course, the fact those finishes will repel any accidental spills from the café is a bonus. Particularly since they’ve already seen the need for more seating for customers. 
Some of that will be alleviated when the weather turns nice enough for outdoor seating. But they also want to make sure that customers feel comfortable trying out the furnishings as well as a cappuccino. 
So now they can hopefully both benefit from one another’s business. Those shopping for furnishings can enjoy a latte, while those who come in for a scone or lunch might just invest in something for the home as well as for the stomach.
Sound far-fetched? On just the second day the café was open, a customer came in for a cup of coffee, and left with two airplane models, each $500. 

BAKED BOUNTY
The customers tend to come in spurts, though there are also those that linger over a cup of coffee and a scone, part of the baked bounty created by Montgomery. 
In addition to the usual coffeeshop pastries such as muffins and scones, early risers can feast on a combination of roasted redskins, onions, peppers turkey and feta cheese topped with eggs sunny side up, dubbed Gobble Up; Green Eggs and Veggies, pesto scrambled eggs with redskins, black beans, Swiss cheese, sauteed spinach and feta, on a warm tortilla; or Irish Breakfast, redskins, red onions, two eggs over easy and slow-roasted corned beef brisket. Omelets, breakfast sandwiches and a quiche of the day round out the menu.
If you’re more into the lunch scene, Wishbones offers a quartet of sandwiches, including the Turkey Salad Strut, the Union Street Reuben with the usual ingredients plus horseradish tatzaiki, and a veggie wrap with spinach, radishes, romaine, tomatoes, hummus and Brownwood Kream Mustard. Then there are the gyros and a salad bar with homemade soup. Whew!
Fowler has also picked up some catering opportunities, which will take place in the café’s dining area. “I picked up two catering gigs yesterday,” he said. “One is for a four-course dinner: Appetizers, salad, entree and dessert,” he said, before scurrying back to his customers.
The combo platter also makes for some innovations in hours. With Wishbones opening at 7 a.m. to catch the morning coffee crowd, Cedar Creek Interiors will now open at 8 a.m., two hours earlier than previously. And though the kitchen closes at 3, store customers can still enjoy a cup of coffee till close at 6 p.m. “That way I can treat my customers,” said Graves.
They’re also looking to add additional help, as the increased business and busy-ness of the dual venture require. Between socializing with clients and would-be clients at the cafe, doing the bookwork and computer work, answering the phone, and working on sales with more typical customers, Hooker says she and Graves are stretched too thin. 
Odd though it may seem on the surface, this may truly be a win-win situation for those involved. It’s also an economic boon: A location that once employed two people now employs three times that many. 

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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