Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 17, 2005

New owners takes over HL coffee shop

By Darla Swanson

A new owner took over the gourmet coffee shop Connie Rae’s in the Security State Bank of Howard Lake last month.

Former owners Tony and Connie Ecklund of Howard Lake decided to purchase a truck stop near Motley, which is near the Brainerd area, commented new owner Nina Myers.

Myers, who is a Hutchinson resident, is owner of two successful coffee shops in Hutchinson, and now the owner of the shop formerly called Connie Rae’s Cafe. All three shops have the same name, The Coffee Company. It is not a franchise chain.

Previously, Myers was a registered nurse in Waconia for 10 years. With a desire to be more connected locally, she opened her first coffee shop in April of 2001. The second was opened in May of 2002.

“It’s gone very well,” she said.

Even though the coffee shop is still technically owned by the bank, Myers is modeling it after her other shops.

“We hadn’t been looking to expand,” she explained, but added that a friend informed her son that the shop was going to be vacant.

“We decided to give it a shot,” she said.

The Coffee Company offers a quaint, cozy place for people to enjoy a cup of coffee and a scone, a sandwich, or a host of tasty treats available.

“We offer a good variety. My goal is to offer a quality product at a reasonable price,” Myers said.

Rather than keeping the fare of the former shop, Myers brought in the same products she serves at her Hutchinson stores.

The Howard Lake shop is offering about 15 different sandwiches, hot soups, Bridgeman’s Ice Cream, Mr. B’s candies (from Willmar), and a variety of deserts, including cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Factory.

Breakfast is available. Scones and breakfast sandwiches are ready to go with, of course, a cup of fresh brewed hot coffee.

The Coffee Company isn’t just about coffee though. There is a variety of teas, smoothies, and something called a “fruscia,” is milk blended with fruit and ice. “They’re very creamy. They’re very good – they’re very low in calories, so they’re a big hit!” Myers said.

Eat-in or take-out orders are available. Myers suggests that customers call about a half an hour in advance for lunch orders, which can be fixed for individuals or groups.

For now, the shop is a one-employee operation and will be run by Diana Foley from Litchfield.

Myers and her son, Jeff Myers, will work a few hours each week also.

The coffee shop is currently open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

With plans to expand business, Myers is waiting to obtain space on a billboard alongside Highway 12.

“We would like to expand into Saturday if we could grow the business enough to be opened on Saturday,” she said, adding, “We enjoy doing what we do.”

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