Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

Coffee shop to open on Square in Spring

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By now most folks traveling around the Lebanon Public Square have noticed new signage to the right of the Lebanon Wilson Chamber of Commerce.

Caffeine fiends, hoping it's not a figment of their imagination, have even walked inside the doors of the upcoming business, only to ask, "Is the coffee ready yet?"

Coffee on the Square owner Roger Lee will be brewing hometown favorites very soon.

Originally from Oak Ridge, Lee, who is retired from the military, and his wife Michele, moved to Lebanon five years ago. Lee said Michele was formerly the director of no-kill animal shelter, New Leash on Life, and now owns and operates All Animals Pet Care.

On a sunny October day this year, Lee was driving around the newly-renovated Square and had a thought. "I thought, 'Gosh there should be tables outside. It's so pretty today,'" he recounted. "Then I thought, 'Well, who would have tables outside? There's no coffee shop!'"

After a little investigation and securing a location on the Square, the business was born - a business, Lee said, that was "screaming to be born."

"The interest is incredible... I have to open it now," he said, adding that he's received tons of support from the City of Lebanon and Square merchants.

Lee's goal is to have the first phase of Coffee on the Square completed by spring. Phase 1 consists of the first level of the multi-level space. Lee is currently working to add a restroom and build a nice counter and kitchen space.

Phase 2 will include the second and third levels of the building. Level two will be a lounge area - complete with couches and big screen TVs. Level three will be conference space.

"It will be for rent for private events," Lee said, noting that eventually he hopes to secure live entertainment on the weekends.

"I anticipate this place to be an anchor business, particularly for the Square," he said. "Right now, if you are a business owner or a customer on the Square and you want a cup of coffee - unless you are a real fan of Burger King's coffee - you have to leave the Square. I think once Coffee on the Square is up-and-running, we'll be able to keep everyone here. The demand is incredible."

The menu will begin with all premium coffees - cappuccinos, lattes - and homemade pastries.

As lunchtime rolls around, Lee plans to expand the menu to a soup bar, where customers can find staples such as pinto beans and corn bread and the "best broccoli soup you've ever put in your mouth," fresh baked bread, paninis and individual pizzas.

Lee feels that Coffee on the Square will be unlike any other coffee shop in town - and doesn't feel pressure from chains like Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts.

"I don't really believe I have any real competitors in this market. There is a Starbucks 1.8 miles up the street. I don't feel like I am going to infringe on their opportunity to make money," he explained. "I want pictures of local firefighters and police officers on the walls. I want this to be a very Wilson County establishment."

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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#wcbusiness, #wcdevelopment, coffee, food, growth, Lebanon, Lebanon Public Square, restaurant
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