CAIRO — The owner of downtown Cairo’s newest business isn’t afraid of opening in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We all have to get back out sooner or later,” said Janet Wynne, the first-time business owner who’s now running the Cairo Coffee Company on Broad Street. “You’ve got to take little baby steps at a time.”
Located in Gate 16 Plaza where the former Dark Horse Java coffee shop was situated, Wynne said one of the advantages of her new business’ location is its spacious environment.
“You can be more than six feet apart in here,” she said. “It’s a very open space.”
The new business owner said basic safety precautions are being taken during the pandemic, but she’s not letting the virus stop her from getting underway.
“Yes, we’re being cautious, but we want to serve the people of Grady County,” Wynne said. “We’re going to rise above the pandemic.”
The new coffee shop offers a variety of styles and blends supplied by Lucky Goat Coffee out of Tallahassee including cold brew, a “drip of the day” and a special flavor of the month, with this month’s special flavor being Hawaiian Hazelnut.
Wynne, who runs the store together with her husband David and 14-year-old daughter Erika, said she wants the business to be about more than just coffee. Sandwiches, muffins and ice cream are also offered, but the key, Wynne said, is creating a relaxed atmosphere. Customers are welcome to use the pool table and electric piano located inside the shop, and some regulars are already coming in to play cards and dominoes.
Plans are also underway to stay open late for three days once each month to encourage guests to hang out, sing karaoke and enjoy live music.
“There’s no other coffee shop in Cairo like this,” Wynne said.
A born and raised Cairo native, Wynne said opening a coffee shop downtown is her way of returning to the city she loves and reconnecting with people she grew up with.
After years of sitting behind a computer doing bookkeeping and secretarial work, the 58-year-old said setting off on a new career running a coffee shop sounded intriguing.
“This was just something that appealed to me,” she said. “I would be able to enjoy serving the folks of Cairo.”
Wynne was unemployed at the time she learned that Dark Horse would be moving out of Gate 16 Plaza early last month. That’s when she contacted plaza owner Al Rocuant and said she wanted to take over the space for her own business concept.
“We met Al on May 8,” said Wynne who described Rocuant as being instrumental in setting up her business, “and in six weeks and four days we have opened this coffee shop.”
The new coffee shop first opened early last week, and a grand opening ceremony took place Friday afternoon.
“I know this is a crazy time to be doing this, but it’s a good time as well because now that things are starting to open back up people aren’t going to miss the old coffee shop as much,” Wynne said. “They’ll just come in and find new owners.”
Cairo Coffee Company is open from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Curbside services are also available from 6-8 a.m.