A popular downtown Frankenmuth coffeehouse is opening a new location in Caro with plans to expand area dining options, hours, and jobs.
The Harvest Coffeehouse & Deli will replace Intermission Deli at 157 N. State St.
The transition will happen over the course of the next few weeks, said Shannon Brown, owner of Frankenmuth-based Harvest Coffeehouse & Beanery, who presented her plan to the Tuscola County Economic Development Corp. (TCEDC) Tuesday. The goal is to not have the storefront closed for any length of time.
Customers can expect to see increased coffee, coffee-based drinks, and smoothie offerings, a refined menu to include sandwiches and other items such as hummus (homemade), along with increased hours (yet to be determined).
Brown said as she learns more about Caro customers’ preferences, the menu and other offerings are subject to change. During Tuesday’s EDC meeting, she fully acknowledged the differences she will face operating in Caro versus Frankenmuth.
“I’m very excited about Caro,” Brown said. “I think there’s so much opportunity here.
“Looking at the current Intermission Deli…there are a lot of things we saw immediately right away that can increase traffic.”
Mark Ransford, co-owner of Caro-based Ransford-Wasik L.L.C., which bought Intermission Deli about four years ago, said Brown has exciting ideas and her team can dedicate the kind of resources needed to run a successful food-based business in downtown Caro.
Ransford-Wasik will retain ownership of the building and lease it to Harvest Coffeehouse.
“Our passion is buildings in downtown Caro and the history that’s here,” Ransford said. “We love the infrastructure, but we’ve never been interested in running a restaurant. We’re not restaurant operators.
“To have someone like Shannon come in from Frankenmuth, who’s a proven operator, knows how to do that, and lets us do what we love while she does what she loves – Caro’s going to benefit,” Ransford said.
Brown said her family purchased Harvest Coffeehouse – located across the street from the Frankenmuth Visitor Center – in June 2013.
“Since then, it’s continued to grow,” Brown said. “The previous owners (of Harvest Coffeehouse) had filed bankruptcy twice prior to our purchasing.”
Harvest Coffeehouse offers specialty coffees and coffee-based drinks, such as espresso, cappuccinos, mochas, breve, and lattes, just to name a few.
Brown said her company plans to soon begin roasting coffee beans in Frankenmuth – a move that she said will cut costs and improve flavor by offering “fresh-roasted coffee.” The same beans will be used in Caro, she said.
“I think this is wonderful and thank you for looking at Caro and coming to us,” said Christine Trisch, Tuscola County Board of Commissioners member, who also is on the Tuscola County Economic Development Corp. board. Trisch added she tries to make it a point to go to Harvest Coffeehouse in Frankenmuth whenever she goes to that city.
Brown said food items on the menu will be a hybrid mix of sandwiches similar to those offered by Intermission Deli, and Harvest Coffeehouse products, including the homemade hummus. Breakfast sandwiches could also be in the mix, she said.
Brown presented her plans to the TCEDC Tuesday because board members had to approve transfer of an equipment lease agreement to her.
“We’ve continued to thrive, pay all our bills on time, and my business is currently debt-free,” Brown said.
Steve Erickson, executive director, TCEDC, said the TCEDC fully vetted Brown’s business credibility.
“We met with her twice and made sure we took a deep-dive into her finances in her present business as well as her projections for this one to make sure she had the funds to pay us back,” he said.
In addition to the regular business of Harvest Coffeehouse, Brown said she fully expects to integrate it into the community, similar to how she has done in Frankenmuth.
Harvest Coffeehouse hosts “Free Friday Movie Nights” in its Frankenmuth parking lot during the summer.
“We’re always supporting local groups and kids and donating things for charities and silent auctions,” Brown said. “It’s good for our business, too, but also gives us a chance to be part of and serve the community.”
Brown said her first priority in bringing Harvest Coffeehouse & Deli to Caro will be building a team.
“I’m sure there are going to be more job opportunities for local people,” she said. “I’m very big in having a team and not just having people work for us.”
Intermission Deli currently has six employees, and Brown said that will increase with additional hours of operation.
For more information about Harvest Coffeehouse’s current location in Frankenmuth, check out harvestcoffeehouse.com.
Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org