Photo by Rob Beverly
The new Hibbert-Davis Coffee Shop barely resembles its predecessor from almost two decades ago. It is now located on East Main Street in the former location of The Bus Pit and original City Garage.
Spacious and airy, with an industrial look of exposed overhead ductwork, pipes and galvanized metal, Hibbert-Davis still manages to have a small, intimate feel to it, due largely to the configuration of mostly small tables, which seat two to four people. However, the large community table is a great place for a group to gather or have a meeting. There is also a fireplace around which leather sofas are arranged, the favorite spot for high school and college students in the afternoons. And the wonderful aromas...
Early mornings at Hibbert-Davis are slammed: professionals, students and retirees alike stream into the shop to get their morning “fix” on their way to work or just to begin their day. The smell of hot, freshly-brewed coffee, coupled with freshly-baked breakfast sandwiches and pastries is a difficult combination to walk away from, particularly if the fire is lit and it’s a dreary day outside.
Keith Justis is Hibbert-Davis’ owner and coffee roaster extraordinaire. His days revolve mainly around running a small business, but his starring role is that of the man behind the roaster. The custom-made machine is itself a thing of beauty.
“I spent one and half to two years learning the roasting process,” says Keith. “Practicing, experimenting, getting to know the roaster itself, and the factors that impact the roasting process.”
To ensure that the beans are as fresh as possible, Keith roasts beans several times a week, or when supplies run low: light, medium, dark and decaffeinated. And even though Hibbert-Davis is a coffee business, there are other drinks available, such as the fall favorite, Spiced Pumpkin Chai Tea.
Keith’s wife, Suzanne, a local artist with a gallery downtown, stops in several mornings a week to pick up her skinny latte and a sandwich. Daughter Hannah is also a frequent customer, sitting on one of the sofas near the fireplace after school, drawing or sketching her own works of art, or with her friends, working on their homework and just “hanging out.”
They are not the only ones.
Participants in running and other race events are often found at Hibbert-Davis - so much so that the shop often serves as an official site for registration and packet pickup. Runners themselves, Keith and Suzanne are glad to be involved with such a great group of people. And Hibbert-Davis is proud to support all avenues of art and artistic expression in this area, and they welcome posters and announcements of upcoming events.
The staff is an amicable group and works hard preparing a customer’s favorite handcrafted drink, delicious sandwich, hummus or cheese platter, or baking a warm and yummy bakery item. Scones, muffins, cakes and cookies are always on hand, plus many other select specialty items.
And oh yes, there is the obligatory “tip” jar (an extremely large coffee mug) on the counter. Instead of dividing the tips every night, the employees let the money accumulate over several weeks, then decide to do something as a group, often meeting at a restaurant or choosing a fun activity. The team and teamwork both benefit.
Keith stresses that just as Suzanne has her own business, Hibbert-Davis is his. Or so he thinks. He is well aware of some formidable competition forming in the ranks. At 12 years of age, Matthew Justis has been something of an entrepreneur himself for years. At Hibbert-Davis, he manages the Game Room, an arcade with a retro vibe with Miss Pac-Man®, Galaga®, and a Sega®Driving Game, along with several gumball machines. But he has taken a particular interest in the roasting process...
Hibbert-Davis is located at 240 East Main Street. Hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call them at 423-765-9070 and Like them on Facebook.