Amy and David Condon had to make a big decision last summer. David, a minister, had been turned down for a job. The question was what was next.
The answer, it turns out: A coffee shop.
Within six weeks, the couple, who are parents of two, had opened Espresso Self Cafe, a coffee shop and gathering place in The Factory at Wake Forest.
"The ball just started rolling," David said.
The shop opened in September and has since drawn a faithful following of, often, parents, who are dropping their kids off for hockey, soccer, baseball or dance practices and any number of other activities that happen at The Factory. That's how I found them. I was there for my older daughter's indoor soccer game.
But it's not just about the coffee, which comes from Wake Forest's Bean Therapy, and baked goods, made by local bakers, here. The Condons want Espresso Self to be a family-friendly place where kids of all ages and parents can gather. There are board games, toys and books. Locally made products are for sale. And the shop offers regular events.
David, who also is a musician, remembers having trouble finding a kid-friendly place to perform when he was young. So, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays, the shop offers family karaoke. And, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays, there's an open mic night, designed, in part, for kids who are looking for experience performing before a crowd.
The Condons also work to accommodate special event requests - from book clubs to birthday parties. Party packages can be tailored to a customers' needs. They can shut the shop down for an event or just hold open a table for a gathering.
"Our home has been my hub of hospitality," Amy said. "I knew this would be that kind of place as well."
There's been a bit of a learning curve for the Condons during the first few months of small business ownership. David still does other work, including performing gigs at local venues. Amy works some as an occupational therapist. The couple homeschools their two kids - ages 13 and 15. Because traffic is busiest in the afternoon at The Factory, Espresso Self is typically open in the afternoon and early evening - leaving the morning to devote to school work.
The Condons hope Espresso Self becomes a place for families to relax and have fun.
"All in all, I love it," Amy said. "I love meeting all of the people. Everybody is so friendly."
Espresso Self Cafe is open daily, typically from early afternoon to evening. The cafe's website has more information about upcoming events and happenings. It's at The Factory, 1839 S. Main St., Wake Forest.
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