When are you going to open?
Over the past year, Andrea Grove has been asked that question over and over, ever since word got out that Elementary Coffee Co. planned to open a standalone shop in a newly renovated building in Harrisburg’s Capitol district.
She finally has a definitive answer: today.
This morning, a steady line of customers streamed into the storefront at North and Susquehanna streets—many of whom had become friends with Grove and fans of her small-batch coffee over the past five years, since she opened a stand in the Broad Street Market.
“I’m so relieved,” Grove said, as she sat at the long counter that dominates the seating area. “It’s nice to finally be able to present something that we’re passionate about to the city of Harrisburg. It feels great.”
Elementary sits at the seam of residential and official Harrisburg, and Grove expects to draw from both types of customers—neighborhood denizens and office workers.
She had been looking for a location in the area south of Forster Street for some time when, last year, two of the owners of Mangia Qui/Rubicon—Qui Qui Musarra and Elide Hower, drinking coffee at her market stand—told her that she should look into the building that was being renovated right by their restaurants.
“They were whispering to each other,” Grove said. “Then they said, ‘Andrea have you considered the space near us?’”
In early 2018, Harrisburg attorney Matt Krupp and a partner bought the tumbledown building that once had housed a French restaurant called the Coventry. It had been vacant for 25 years, its roof had caved in, and most people had long ago marked it for the wrecking ball.
Krupp, though, had other ideas, buying the building from the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority and mounting a 1½-year rebuilding project that yielded two upstairs apartments and the downstairs retail area now occupied by Elementary Coffee.
Grove loved the location, and soon the build-out began, led by architect Chris Dawson, contractor Misha Kaschock and a team of local craftspeople.
“Misha nailed it,” Grove said. “I think this space is such a testament to what he can do.”
While Grove began serving coffee today, she has yet to begin roasting in the space, which should start soon. Until then, she’ll continue roasting at the Broad Street Market, and, market patrons–don’t fear–she is retaining her stand there, as well.
Otherwise, Grove wants to shape the new location into a true community space. From time to time, she will feature local music, local artists (first up, Katiie Reynolds) and participate in 3rd in the Burg. In fact, her “grand opening” will be during the next 3rd in the Burg on Nov. 15 and will feature cider from Gardners-based Big Hill Ciderworks and beer from Harrisburg’s Zeroday Brewing Co., which also is brewing a collaboration coffee beer with Elementary.
Soon, customers will have some delicious food options to go along with their coffee, including pastries from Harrisburg’s Raising the Bar and bagels from Lancaster-based Harvest Moon Bagel Co.
Due to its location, the shop is likely to become a popular place for meetings, and the folks at StartUp Harrisburg already were huddled around a table this morning, marking perhaps the first business meeting there.
“We’re thrilled to see Andrea’s hard work pay off in this beautiful space,” said StartUp co-owner Adam Porter. “Her focus has always been on serving others, and she can do that seven days a week now.”
In her new shop, Grove watched in real time as her long-held vision came true: people at tables sipping her coffee, patrons lined up at the counter, the Elementary team taking orders and her roasting equipment in back, waiting to get switched on.
“For us, this seemed like a very safe, secure and manageable location,” Grove said. “It is allowing us to realize our potential and hopes and dreams.”
Elementary Coffee Co. is located at 256 North St., Harrisburg. Hours are Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Elementary is also located in the brick building of the Broad Street Market during market hours. For more information, visit their website.