A Place with Soul in its Bones

(an exercise in Wallflowering)

I’m trying out a new coffee spot in Marietta today.

They are in “soft-opening” mode so still working out the kinks and cobwebs. I arrived one minute after opening and the bakery case looked like closing time. Part of me wished I’d eaten before I came. I learned they were preparing for an event so all provisions were otherwise sanctioned. Technically… they aren’t really open until tomorrow, sooooooo(shrug)
I am in no way bothered by this. I understand the growing pains of a new business. In fact, I am relishing in its newness and that I get to eat a chocolate cookie for breakfast. 

There’s something about a new place grown from old bones…

I’ve driven by this place dozens of times and never noticed its existence. It just blended in with the other unattractive shacks-turned-businesses on that side of the street. Now, it’s a tiny beacon of revitalized hope.

I overheard the owner telling a patron the building was a blues bar for 30 years and how he pretty much kept the original structure intact… just refurbishing where needed and converting the back half into storage and a  kitchen.

“This place has a lot of soul in its bones,” he said with pride.

The floor dips and creeks with every step. Fresh coats of paint do what they can to hide the cracks and dents like make-up on an aging woman who’s done some hard living. The hand-me-down furnishings do their best to gather in ways to appear cohesive… not realizing the mismatching of it all is what makes this place great.
In all the imperfections, it’s totally flawsome.

The owner/manager, Rob makes me smile.
So full of excitement and terror, as new business owners tend to be.
It’s kind of cute on him because he looks like the long lost love child of Santa Claus and the 3M Scotsman. Clearly, his stature and stoutness were inherited from both fictional parents, but just imagine a smiling, rosy-cheeked Santa with red hair… That’s Rob. He has on a red plaid flannel shirt which just sets the entire image off perfectly.

There is a pregnant woman milling about and if I went by interaction, I’d guess she’s Rob’s wife.
I sigh at this.
Not to cast a negative light, but I know all too well what it’s like to be in the early stages of empire building while very very pregnant. Basically… this NEEDS to work. And I want this to work for them.  
I hear her talking to patrons about the grand opening and regular hours starting tomorrow. She’s beaming and bursting with pride, much like her husband… 
I really want this to work. 

Rob is making frequent trips from the storage/kitchen space donning opera-length oven mitts and carrying big trays of baked goods.
The glass case at the main counter is back at full capacity just in time for an influx of caffeine-pastry craving patrons.  

Chiropractors turned coffee shop owners… twenty years in the making. And I don’t think either one of them is even 40 yet. Go figure. 

I am borderline crushing on the little barista dude behind the counter.
Clean-cut, wholesome, (seemingly) well-raised white boy. Barely 20 if a day… also in plaid flannel (but his is blue) and a well-worn curved-brim ball cap.
His polite, shy, yes-ma’am-good manners are a cover, I’m sure.
He has the smirk of an undeniable bad-ass.
His charm is southern but without the accent.
There’s just something about the way he says “you be good, now” instead of “have a nice day.” 

This is fast becoming a place where everybody knows your name.
There is no shortage of hugs exchanged patron-to-patron and patron-to-staff. I want to get in on this familiarity. 

I like this place…

I can be happy here.
I can forgive the location, for the most part. The nice view is within the walls.
It’s the kind of place where you can leave your stuff on the table, use the restroom and everything will be there when you come back.
I’ve always wanted to do that.

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