B y Randy Arrington
STANLEY, Jan. 11 — Regardless of how many cups of espresso or hot chocolate she sells, Lisa Meadows has a different vision of what success looks like with her newest venture that goes well beyond the bottom line.
“I think it would be a sense of the community coming together and creating a safe haven for women,” Meadows said this week following a ribbon cutting at her new business in Stanley.
“We want to nurture their spirit, soul and body,” Meadows continued. “Our county has a lot of abusive situations…I’ve seen that…and I just wanted to have a place for women to go to, to show them that they’re loved.”
A crowd of nearly 50 packed into the former pizzeria and Tastee Freez on Wednesday morning to celebrate the grand opening of The Coffee Shop — Stanley’s newest business at 115 East Main Street.
“My heart is so full,” District 3 supervisor Mark Stroupe told Meadows and the group on Wednesday. “This building has been sitting here vacant for so long…and now, not only do you have a great business here, you have the word of God here. Thank you for your hard work, and everyone remember to shop local.”
Meadows started working on the idea almost a year ago, in March of 2022.
“Everyone told me to go to Luray, but I said Luray already has a coffee shop and Stanley needed this,” said Meadows, a life-long resident of Stanley. “God spoke to me and said I needed to open a coffee shop…I prayed about finding something to lift women up.”
However, the new business owner remembers when she applied for a building permit, some questioned her sanity — given the talk of growing inflation and a potential recession on the horizon. However, she felt like the mission behind the project was what continued to propel it forward, regardless of the product on the shelves.
“It’s a ministry disguised as a coffee shop,” Meadows said.
While The Coffee Shop is open Wednesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to noon, it also reopens at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays for a Women’s Ministry and “Praise Fridays”, respectively. The Friday night event features live inspirational music, as well as coffee and desserts. This Friday, Jan. 13, will feature local evangelist Doug Gochenour; Friday, Jan. 20 will showcase Nashville recording artist Glenn Shelton of Lynchburg; and on Friday, Jan. 27, Brian and Marsha Duncan of Fort Valley will perform.
“One elderly couple told me this was going to be their date night on Fridays,” Meadows said.
The shop offers Sendme Refugee coffee — regular or with flavorings — which supports a Christian ministry based in Alabama that “shows the love of Jesus” to areas around Tapachula, Mexico by providing feeding centers, education, an orphanage, and water purification. Stanley’s new coffee shop also offers crafts and items by other vendors, such as local honey, pastries, jewelry, cards, candles, stickers, coin purses and stuffed animals. The pastries available with espressos, lattes and hot chocolate are made fresh locally. Meadows, well-known in the region as a recording artist singing both country and spiritual music, also has books and CDs for sale.
“This is a great turnout today,” said Gina Hilliard, president of the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce, who hosted Wednesday’s ribbon cutting. “But we all need to remember to support local business…not just when they open up, but we need to continue to come back and support our ‘mom and pop’ stores.”
Meadows got the keys to the building on Oct. 1 and spent two months cleaning up what she described as “not very pretty.” Following the renovations, she held a few soft openings in December to get ready for 2023.
“This building meant a lot to me because I’ve lived here all my life,” Meadows said. “I used to come to Tastee Freez when I was young with my parents…I remember coming here with my grandparents…and then I brought my kids here.”
Meadows has plans for more improvements in the coming year, such as a garden out front and an area for kids to play, as well as the addition of smoothies to the menu.
“On behalf of myself and the Town, it’s good to see you here, and we hope you are prosperous and hope you stay for a long time,” Stanley Mayor Mike Knight said at the grand opening.
Meadows shared an emotional moment on Wednesday morning, noting that her uncle who was supposed to attend the event had passed away the night before. It reminded her to let the community know that while there is a focus on helping women, men are also welcome at the shop. Signs on the walls share her sentiment of trying to create a gathering place for the entire community — “This is our happy place,” reads one; while another states: “This is where LOVE resides, memories are created, friends are always welcome, and Family is Forever.”
Meadows was relieved to find out that the car dealership that was planning to occupy the former restaurant had pulled out, leaving her the opportunity to create something special at the corner of Main and Aylor Grubbs. Just like the motto of Sendme Refuge coffee — “It’s more than great coffee, it’s an opportunity to give hope.”
Her purpose, inspired by a higher calling, is best described in the Mission Statement for The Coffee Shop:
“Our mission, here at The Coffee Shop is to be a lantern to those women in need within the community. That they will find the love and compassion of Jesus where they have never known a loving touch before. To replace hurt and pain with hope and praise for the Glory of God.”
The Coffee Shop, 115 E. Main St., Stanley, is open from 7 a.m. to noon Wednesday through Friday, with a special Women’s Ministry at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Praise Fridays with special music at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays.
For more information about upcoming events, visit their Facebook page
or visit their website at coffeeshopllc.com
or call (540) 778-1111.