Cinco de Mayo may be a famous holiday, but for the people of Compass Coffee in Baker there was an additional reason to celebrate.
The new business on Main Street celebrated its first birthday.
Compass Coffee at Lawler’s opened during the pandemic year 2020 and has flourished, according to general manager Kaleb Renfro.
There have been some changes, but the biggest may be when it opens its doors Saturday evening for a night of live music, Renfro said.
Renfro and Joe Epley, an associate pastor at the Assembly of God Church in Baker, had some obstacles to overcome early. “The church actually owns the place,” the general manager said.
He has Sarah Bartholomew as the assistant manager and several employees to work the business.
In 2020, one of the challenges has been coming up with a way to meet the new distancing requirements, he said. “We have been doing a lot of work on the interior of the building, renovating and bringing in new furniture, a new color scheme. It is going to be good,” Epley said a year ago as the business started up.
In 2021, the small shop has also made some recent addition, including partnering with Leigh Ann LaCroix’ Frosted Flour business to provide specialty pastries and fresh baked good. “That has been fun. They are baked by Leigh Ann LaCroix and will be here in our place. We started partnering about two months ago.” The Frosted Flour is a home-based business.
The partnership has already paid off for both. “We have had a lot of people that have really enjoyed all the fresh baked goods. It also has been fun to partner with her and help her expand her business.”
“It has far surpassed any of our expectations,” Renfro said. “It has been a lot of work and a lot of crazy things have come up, but we’ve handled them well. It is far beyond what we expected. It has been a really fun experience and have learned a lot.”
Some of the challenges came closer to home than a pandemic. “We didn’t expect any of the big things breaking down, like our espresso machine or our water system. We were able to get people in here to fix things or we were able to work around things and still run a functioning business. Even with COVID happening and all the unforeseen circumstances we were able to roll with the punches,” he said.
One of the “punches” may have been when people were quarantined in 2020. “We had to have volunteers step in and help us out for a day or two,” he said.
There have been changes in the menus since they started the business. “We do offer new mugs seasonally, just to kind of keep things fresh.” But, the menu has stayed pretty much the same overall.
The biggest change will be Saturday evening. “We are doing our first live music event at Compass Coffee. That will be fun.”
The evening will be starting at 6 p.m. with some acoustical musicians and singers signed up for opening night, he said.
“It is live music that we have pre-scheduled with several different artists,” Renfro explained.
One reason for the success of the business in the first year is because it provides a comfortable family atmosphere. “Families can bring their kids and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and a lunch.”
He attributed the success also to the support from the community. “We are glad that people are enjoying it. We have been very fortunate to have good support from the community... and a good team alongside me. There was also a lot of volunteer and hard work from the church that made this a success.”