Jan. 22, 2007

The Eye Opener coffee house coming to Winsted

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Stacy Fleischacker Neumann, originally from Winsted and now a resident of Lester Prairie, is looking forward to the opening of her new business, The Eye Opener coffee house.

The coffee house, located along McLeod County Road 1 in Winsted, has a tentative opening date of Monday, Feb. 12.

The Eye Opener will offer specialty coffees, soups, sandwiches, and sweet breads, but it is the atmosphere that Neumann is working to create that will be as big an attraction as that steaming cup of hot coffee.

She wants her coffee house to be senior-friendly, kid-friendly – for all ages. A place for young and old to visit with friends, meet different people, or just read the newspaper.

“I want this place to be very laid back. I don’t want it to be high-strung or stressful. I want people to come in and relax or come in and just get a coffee on their way to work,” Neumann said.

Neumann has wanted to do something like this for awhile. When she learned about a vacancy next door to Michelle Fleischacker’s Winsted Floral and Gifts store, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

Neumann shared her coffee house business idea with Fleischacker. Exchanging thoughts about the coffee house made them both realize the vacancy would be the perfect location and each of the businesses would benefit and compliment each other.

Originally they thought of sharing the business, then Neumann decided that she would like to try it on her own.

“Winsted hasn’t had a coffee house, at least not for a long time. It is a perfect location and Winsted has a lot of big industry. I think this business will prosper here. This is a friendly town and we welcome everybody,” Neumann said.

She has never had second thoughts about her decision to leave Ridgeview Medical Center after 17 years, or a medical career with a total of 23 years of experience. Even saying good-bye her last day was not as hard as she thought it might be.

“It just felt so right and I was so at peace on my last day of work, as crazy as it was there, and that gave me great comfort in knowing what I am doing is right,” Neumann said.

Her support group is substantial. She is from a family of eight children, and many of them have volunteered to help out if she needs help, including her mom. All of them are “big coffee fans.”

“I have gotten overwhelmed a few times, just with everything you have to know. The building inspectors, and state health inspectors, but never once did I ever say, ‘I think this is a mistake’ or ‘I am in over my head,’” Neumann said.

Her husband, Philip, who is originally from Silver Lake, has also been supportive. He is helping with some of the labor and painting, but he wants this to be all hers.

“He has been absolutely wonderful!” Neumann said. “From day one, he has been supporting me. He didn’t have any doubts. He just said, ‘Do it. This is what you always wanted, so just go with it.’”

There is still lots to do, with the opening just a few weeks away. Some of the major changes will be put on hold until after the business opens.

A fireplace is to be added and the main entrance of the store will be moved to an entryway that will be shared with Winsted Floral and Gifts.

Neumann also has plans to improve the drive-through once the weather gets warmer. The drive through will have better access and there will be a menu outside by the drive-through, too.

The Eye Opener is tentatively scheduled to open Monday Feb. 12, if everything goes according to plan. It will be open seven days a week:

Monday-Friday 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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