A new coffee shop on Sam Houston Avenue received an official ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.
Kaldi’s Coffee House, located at 1627 Sam Houston Ave, opened its doors on April 1. Following the ribbon cutting yesterday, a grand opening ceremony for the entire Huntsville community will be held on May 1.
Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce President Dee McFarland was on hand along with other Chamber members to witness the ceremony.
“I think it’s exciting, we’ve been looking for something like this for a long time,” McFarland said. “We love how they refurbished the building, and totally revitalized the property that was here.”
McFarland said Huntsville is happy to have Kaldi’s as a new business in the city.
“We welcome them as a new business to town, and we hope everyone stops by to get a coffee,” McFarland said.
Kaldi’s gets its name from a story concerning an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi who supposedly discovered coffee beans after noticing his goats were more energetic after grazing on strange beans.
The coffee shop is owned and operated by Rick Francis along with his wife Indiana.
Francis said he wanted to open the coffee house in Huntsville because he saw a demand for one in the community. He added that he hopes Huntsville residents will use Kaldi’s as a place to meet and discuss subjects, issues and other interests.
“We want everyone to feel like this is a second home,” Francis said.
The coffee shop is located in the building that housed former businesses such as Bad Boys Burritos and Angelo’s Pizza. Despite the closings of previous restaurants in the location, Francis said he feels Kaldi’s will be successful.
“We’re very confident and optimistic in our location,” Francis said. “We believe this is the right location for a coffee house.”
Francis said he has made numerous improvements to building, such as installing more windows and lights, as well as other renovations to the plumbing system and parking lot. The kitchen area and counter have also been moved further back to allow more space in the middle of the coffee house for customers.
Also, Francis has installed a patio behind the building where coffee shop customers can go to drink their beverages in a quieter atmosphere. The patio features tables and seating and also has a mural painted along the back wall which was drawn by SHSU art major Kathy Gould.
Francis said the total cost for renovation and furnishing the coffee shop came to about $100,000.
Francis said the coffee shop has been popular so far, and there is every indication that the business will do just fine. Along with serving coffee and other beverages, Francis said Kaldi’s is very open to poetry readings and acoustic music performances. While there are currently no set plans, he said many people have inquired about having such events at the coffee house.
Sophomore Zara Porter works at Kaldi’s and said it was the coffee business itself that encouraged her to seek employment at the coffee house.
“I saw an article in The Houstonian, and I thought I’d like to work in a coffee house because I like coffee and I like the environment of coffee shops,” Porter said. “I thought it would be fun.”
Francis said he looks forward to the future of Kaldi’s in Huntsville.
“We really appreciate everyone’s support; faculty, students and staff and the community,” Francis said. “We really enjoy being part of the Huntsville community.”