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Oct 26, 2011 | Mike Elswick

Coffee Shop and Cafe Finds New Home in Church's Basement

Trinity Coffee Shop
Jeff Tolar and the Rev. Kevin Wittmayer

( - The supply of space met the demand for a new home for a coffee shop and café recently in the basement of a Longview church.


Trinity Episcopal Church had basement space that was basically used as storage. Jeff Tolar needed a space for his coffee shop and café.


Father Kevin Wittmayer, rector at Trinity, said a longtime vision of his for the congregation has been to provide a form of outreach and be part of the community.


“Part of the mission of a church is that it exists to be a blessing to others,” Wittmayer said.


Having a commercial operation in a church is not a completely new idea. He has been to congregations in London, Washington, D.C., and Houston where he has seen the idea work and work well.


“We want to reach out to the neighborhood and become a gathering place,” Wittmayer said. By neighborhood, he includes residents but also nearby medical offices, a hospital and others working in the vicinity.


“This is not a pipeline to church growth — that was never our intention,” he said. “But the space was basically a store room. I met with Jeff when we heard he was in search of a new location, and we’re leasing to him.”


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