During a time like this, with unemployment high and many small businesses going under or, at best, barely staying afloat with government assistance, it’s refreshing to hear a story of someone brave, or, some may say crazy, enough to step out on faith and start a new business. Especially when it’s a business no one has tried in their town—a coffee house – this story could go one of two ways. It could take off or go under quickly, depending on the locals’ receptivity to new things. Nicole Lowther, owner of the new Pressed Coffee House in Saint Marys, WV believed it would be the former.

“She’s always wanted to open a coffee shop, and this was the perfect little town to do so,” said manager Jenessa Mullenix of her employer. “We needed it really bad. The only place to really get coffee around here is McDonald’s.” The worry, though, was whether folks would take to new, more sophisticated flavors. In a town raised on pre-ground coffee, were folks willing to try something fancier than a fast food brew? The answer is apparently a pretty resounding yes.

“I know it’s kind of bold to open a business in the middle of what’s going on right now,” Mullenix said, “but hey, we did, and we’re here. We’re doing really well.” Well enough even to expand their hours. Upon opening, Pressed closed daily at 2:00 p.m. They’ve since extended their hours to hit a different crowd, Mullenix said, and it’s working.

We want to help make sure that everyone can find something that they like.

Although they’ve only been open since October, they already have quite a few regulars, like a group of moms who stop in after they drop off their children for dance lessons every week. “The dance class moms down the street are about to hit around six o’clock. I’ll see them pull up and I’ll just start their drinks; I don’t even have to ask.”

They have coffee and tea drinks of many varieties, along with hot chocolate. Caramel macchiatos are a favorite order, said Mullenix, as are their drinks featuring local ingredients. Pressed stocks maple syrup made locally at Cedar Run Farms. Located in Sistersville, Cedar Run also sells Christmas Trees during the holidays. “Our Cedar Run Farms Maple Latte is a popular one,” shared Mullenix. In addition to fan favorites, Pressed features a different latte each day to encourage their customers to get a feel what they like and try some new things.

As a small town coffee shop, their customer base is a broad one. “It’s kind of a blend of everyone,” said Mullenix. “We serve a lot of the people from the community who work in the town and downtown businesses. We’re also trying to reach out to the younger crowd.”

In the interest of meeting as many tastes as possible, they offer as wide a variety as possible. “We want to help make sure that everyone can find something that they like,” she said. Toward that end, they sell an impressive array of yummy foods and baked goods, including muffins, bagels, and Danish, as well as desserts like cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate cake.

People from the community can bring in their plant cuttings and we’ve got the idea of you can watch your plants grow with our business. We all can grow together.

While beverages and food are their primary fare, they attempt to provide other services to increase traffic while also benefitting other businesses and the community as a whole. “We link up with different locally-owned businesses in the community. Once a month, Poppy’s Boutique–they’re here in town–they come and set up,” said Mullenix. Other businesses and organizations do the same. “We have small community events, nothing major, but anyone can come in. They’ll set up tables with their items so that people can shop with their coffee. It’s a good time, and wholesome.” And what coffee shop would be caught dead without Wi-Fi? “We’ve got community Wi-Fi for anyone working from home who needs to get out of the house, you know?”

Pressed really does strive to be a part of the community they serve. One neat way they do that can be seen growing all around the shop. “You see all these plants, right? People from the community can bring in their plant cuttings and we’ve got the idea of you can watch your plants grow with our business. We all can grow together.” They also host meetings for small groups, though, because of current restrictions, they have to limit the size of groups. Once those constraints are eased and when spring comes along, they plan to be able to have larger events, some even outside.

They are, like everyone else, struggling with COVID-19 and all the virus entails. “You know, the masks, everyone hates it. I understand. That causes a lot of people to not want to go out and do normal things,” said Mullenix. “That has made it a little difficult.” They do offer curbside service, however, for anyone who is uncomfortable coming inside. And they aren’t letting the virus get them down.

“I feel like everyone is dealing with that. It’s not just us, and for being a new business that started in the middle of a pandemic, you wouldn’t be able to tell.”