By Alyssa Sperrazza, News Editor
Growing up, everyone has a dream of what they hope to accomplish. Opening up a coffee shop was Jaimie Hembree’s.
Now, she and her husband Aaron are finally making that dream come true.
The Gathering Place, set to open next fall, stemmed from the idea of community.
“I found it really difficult, when we moved here a couple of years ago, to find community,” Jaimie said. “We live in a very odd Jesus bubble in this town where people cannot seem to interact authentically.”
That desire for authentic relationships is what drove Jaimie and Aaron to make that dream a reality.
“The entire intent is to build a space where people can come, openly and authentically, and find healing through relationship with one another,” Jaimie said.
The focal point for them is not roasting coffee, but rather, brewing relationships.
“Relational ministry is what we live and breathe and do all the time,” Aaron said.
“We’re hoping it’s like, ‘if you build it, they will come.’”
Fortunately, a new coffee shop is something no college student can turndown.
An added space to do some homework or hang out with friends is always a welcomed treat.
“We wanted a place to hang out,” Aaron said. “Where in Shawnee can we hang out? And then we were like, ‘does anyone want to open a coffee shop? Anyone?’ And finally we were like ‘I guess we’ll do it.’”
Opening a coffee shop does not come without its challenges, and like any other business trying to start out, Aaron and Jaimie have faced their own struggles along the way.
“The financial one is the biggest because coffee shops don’t really make money,” Jaimie said. “Also the codes changed halfway through it.”
Due to changes in city codes, they had to redesign their building, changing it from a two story, to a one story.
But regardless of the new plans, they had one intention that has not changed.
“We’re really passionate about the restoration of it,” Jaimie said. “We wanted to pay homage to what it was. We hand scraped one wall that had years and years of maybe five different colors of paint and mortar and nails in it and really tried to save all that we could.”
The coffee shop, which will have grab-n-go food, breakfast food, pastries and other little treats, will also be a place with plenty of activities.
“I want people to be like ‘we don’t have anything to do tonight so lets go to The Gathering Place’s website and see what they have going on,” Aaron said. “I want something to be going on every night. We want to do music nights and craft events on Saturday where you can do Pinterest day.”
On top of those, they plan to host Bible studies and even yoga classes. Needless to say, there will not be a shortage of activities to do.
With the foundation laid and walls going up, the community only has to wait in anticipation for next fall, when The Gathering Place finally opens its doors. Until then, stay up to date with their progress by following them on Facebook and Instagram.