By: Katie Dewitt, EDC Marketing Project Manager
If you’ve taken a stroll recently down West Van Buren Street in Columbia City, you’ve probably noticed the new businesses popping up and bringing more life to our downtown.
Running Around Screen Printing and Embroidery located at the corner of Line and Van Buren, recently celebrated its grand opening; neighbor AC Electronics and Imports recently opened next door; travel east toward the courthouse, and Chapman’s Brewing Company is working on renovations at the former Watering Can and CC Deli building for the taproom; and Stir Crazy coffee shop and café opened its second location in the former Bugsy’s/Dogs N’ Sliders building. Coming soon to downtown this fall, is family-owned bakery Blue Moon Bakery, which will be located at the corner of Main and Van Buren.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with one of our new downtown business owners, Kathy Hays, owner of Stir Crazy coffee shop and café.
Stir Crazy is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Stir Crazy currently offers a lunch special on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., homemade flatbreads and wraps, desserts and breakfast/brunch on Saturday mornings.
“We pride ourselves in offering home cooked comfort food, made-from-scratch desserts, and a full line of coffee, espresso drinks, frappes, chai, specialty tea, and all natural smoothies,” said Hays.
Stir Crazy uses locally roasted coffee beans from the award-winning Blue Lion Coffee Roasting Company in Pierceton.
Hays first opened Stir Crazy in Busco after leaving another job, to make more time for family. “…I was missing out on my family’s lives because I was always at work.”
Hays identified the need for a coffee shop in Churubusco, so she took the leap. After opening as a coffee shop, they started adding food items to the menu and saw great success.
“We started in a small building on the south side of town until we were invited inside Sav U Mor where we are today. I was approached by members of the Downtown Business Alliance to add our offerings to Columbia City for more diversity in the downtown area.”
At first, Hays was hesitant about opening a location in Columbia City, but later decided to run with the idea and open her second location.
Stir Crazy currently has two employees at the Churubusco location and plans to add an additional 3-4 jobs at the Columbia City location.
When asked what she enjoys most about being an entrepreneur Hays said, “I enjoy the personal relationships with the customers and finding items on the menu that they are excited to order. My mantra is that I serve customers as if they are family. Every recipe is either an old family recipe or a family favorite. I delight in a customer telling me that the food or desserts made in-house remind them of their grandmother’s cooking.”
One piece of advice Hays would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to do your research. “I believe in offering a quality product as well as excellent customer service. What you have to offer your potential customers should go hand-in-hand with the staff that will help make memories and keep the customers coming back.”
Stir Crazy Owner Kathy Hays helping a customer at the new location in downtown Columbia City.