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By Sydney Jones/Special to The Sun—
WELLINGTON — “In Hollis, where I grew up, there were always three coffee shops,” said Cowboy Coffee owner Kent Rollins. “It was more than a place to come get coffee, it was always about the visiting. So our hope by having this coffee shop, is to bring people together and make people happy. And if it helps bring more people into Wellington, that’s just a plus.”
Tuesday, Sept. 22 was the opening day for Cowboy Coffee. It’s located on the historic town-square of Wellington. The shop was all a buzz the morning of with excitement for the new establishment.
“We dreamed up the idea out of happenstance really – we were looking at a central location to operate out of for packaging orders and doing cooking schools because we were doing it (packaging) in both Hollis and Wellington,” owner Shannon Rollins said.
“We ended up going with a building on the square, but the building right beside it was also up for grabs, so we decided in July, ‘let’s open a coffee shop.’“
Agatha Dettle, a barista at the former JoeMG Coffee, is ecstatic to be back behind the coffee bar after two and half years.
“It’s so nice to have a coffee shop again,” she said. “I love the atmosphere. I love coffee. I was a bit rusty, but once I got back into making the drinks, it was just like riding a bicycle.”
The former Gulley buildings provide more than 5,000 square feet for a commercial kitchen, a retail store and Cowboy Coffee shop.
Products in the store will include mesquite wood spatulas, ideal for cast iron cookware, carved by Heath Neeley and his daughters, to cookbooks, green chile chipotle relish, cowboy aprons and hash knives, seasonings and more.
Revitalization of any building in small towns enriches and reminds us what community is all about. Kelly Bawcom, who is helping Kent and Shannon with baking up some of their pastry recipes, reminisced on how the square functioned when she was growing up.
“Whenever I was growing up, the square was a happening place – movie store, a dress shop, bakery, cafe, Nancy’s hair salon … Every side of the square had something that gave it life.”
Barista Bailey Neeley, daughter of Heath and Kassie Neeley, grinned from ear to ear as she echoed Kelly’s thoughts.
“I’m so excited – we got this up and running so fast and there are already people from California saying they’re on their way,” said Bailey. “It’s great for Wellington too, especially because it brings more life back to the square.”
Her mom Kassie added, “We need to keep it growing, it supplies more jobs for people and teens. My hope is that it’s a blessing to others.”
While many know Rollins for his numerous television appearances on Food Network’s highly rated shows, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, where he beat Flay with his chicken fried steak, Chopped Grill Masters, Chopped Redemption and Cutthroat Kitchen champion, all who know Kent and Shannon would agree that they are just great, down-to-earth all around good people.
“There’s no place like Cowboy Coffee in town,” added Kelly. “The culture of Wellington is shaped by cotton season and shuttling kids from school to sporting events with no in between. I think this coffee shop could be a place for us to land. A place where the kids can get a coffee and do homework. It’s nothing fancy… In fact, it just feels like a home away from home, where you can curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee next to someone you haven’t had the chance to ‘really’ talk to in awhile.”
So whether you’re a coffee drinker, more of a hot chocolate person, are in for the homemade pastries or to check out the merchandise, customers will be greeted with warm smiles, open arms and maybe even the tip of a cowboy hat. It’s the small town way.
Come and get some Cowboy Coffee, open Tuesday – Thursday 6:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Friday 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
You won’t regret it.