We wouldn’t be here without the Coast Guard. .…Wait, what?!
That’s right. Our owner & roaster, John, is here because his dad joined the Coast Guard straight out of high school in 1960 in Ft Lauderdale, Fla. He served on the cutter Point Thatcher as a Plank Owner and served many other billets, before getting stationed in Savannah, GA. There, he met John’s mom, Liz, and John was born at Hunter Army Airfield. They were stationed in Washington DC, Governors Island NY, Portsmouth Va and then Elizabeth City. John Sr retired
as a Mustang Lieutenant, earned the hard way - 26 years of service. His wife, known as Ms. Liz, was well known at the CG Exchange for 30 years.
Our other owner, Audra, and John dated about a year in high school, then a few years later in college. But they lost touch for a while after that. One day (thanks to a small town), Ms. Liz ran into Audra’s mom, Mary, at the post office. Mary was about to drive off with her sunglasses on the roof of her car. Ms. Liz stopped her and let her know that John’s dad had passed away after a battle with cancer and to have Audra call John. Well, that call, after three years of no communication, lasted 3 hours. A few months later they were dating again. Audra was interested in going to Grad school in Seattle but John had already moved around his whole life and was not interested in moving again. So, Audra moved home to Elizabeth City. She had always wanted to open a coffeehouse, but never figured on it being in her hometown.
While both still working full time jobs, they rented a space with the vision of turning it into a coffeehouse and did the buildout themselves after work. After months of work they quietly opened the doors on April 10, 2000. There was no big announcement or grand opening, just welcoming the curious neighbors that wandered in. They were very eager to learn the trade and make the best coffee possible, so they went to many trade shows & training events with like-minded people. In May 2002, Audra actually placed 7th in the National Barista Championship in Anaheim, Ca. Then she trained as a taster and judged both regional & national championships for a few years. Along came a baby and a second business, so the time for championships ended.
But our baristas still have those championship skills. Some have been with us for 8, 10 or 20 years because they love what they do. They care, and it shows. We are so proud of them and the quality of our coffee & their drinks. We wanted to create a meeting place for Elizabeth City 22 years ago. Somewhere you could go that was as comfortable as your living room, without going home. I’m happy to say I think we did it. And it never would have happened without the Coast Guard. :)