When I returned to get some popcorn a couple of weeks ago, I made sure to schedule my visit for a Monday morning.
That's when I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Ellen ... also known as Ellen Clements outside of storytime circles. Clements, a mom and grandma, is a retired teaching assistant, who worked mostly with kindergartners. She loves books and reading and passing that passion on to children.
"I've always had a really deep love of reading. I read all the time," she said.
Clements would probably have been at Bean Traders most Monday mornings with her own book in tow if it weren't for the storytimes. She calls the coffee shop her second home. Before retiring in 2004, she'd make a stop before school for some coffee and 30 minutes of quiet reading.
"I was a much better person when I got to work," she said.
Three years ago, she started thinking a storytime would be a popular event at the shop. One thing led to another and Clements took on the project, volunteering her time and materials.
"People love her," said Christy Chapman, who owns the shop, which roasts its own coffee beans and offers all kinds of pastries, muffins and other foods, with her husband. "They give her Christmas presents. I hope she does it forever."
There were more than two dozen kids when I visited with my daughters on President's Day. Clements read the book "Mama, Do You Love Me?," which is set in Alaska. Then kids launched into a craft that had them gluing snowman, Eskimos and other characters and sticking glittery white foam stickers on a snowy scene.
Kids were engaged in the story and focused on the craft. The storytime and activity is generally best for ages 2 to 4 or so. It lasts between about 40 and 45 minutes.
It all happens in a corner of the shop, which also includes a chalkboard table and playhouse. It's a fun little space to hang out even if you aren't there during a storytime.
The storytime happens at 10:30 a.m. most Mondays. Check ahead to make sure it's scheduled. There's also a board next to the storytime area with the upcoming themes.
Clements has a good time picking out books and selecting crafts.
"I enjoy it," she tells me. "I think sometimes I have more fun than they do."
For more from Clements and a glimpse of the storytime, watch the video.
Find Bean Traders at 105 W NC 54 Hwy., across Interstate 40 from The Streets at Southpoint.