Committee hears of new coffee shop

EAST LIVERPOOL — An upcoming coffee shop is one step closer to receiving some help from the city’s Community Investment Corporation following a meeting with the CIC’s Finance Committee on Thursday.

Appearing before the committee Thursday was Steven Murphy of Chester, W.Va., who asked the committee to consider his loan request to help start his new business, Steelnative Coffee LLC, which will be located on 201 East Fifth Street in the former PC Doctors location.

Murphy is seeking $20,000 from the CIC to start the business, which would include money for purchasing equipment, furniture and fixtures, inventory, insurance premiums, fees and licenses, and $2,500 in working capital for deposits and salaries.

Murphy stated that he was familiar with the area and wanted to open a new coffee shop for quite some time. He stated that he purchased the former PC Doctors site outright, had financed the business with his own money and was about 85 percent complete with the renovations inside the building, including new wiring, floors and ceiling.

“I bought it outright so I don’t have any payments or anything, so if anything goes bad I would have something to work with,” Murphy said.

According to Murphy, the focal point of the business will be that he plans to import green coffee beans from around the world and roast it in his shop daily. The coffee shop will include espresso, cappuccino, latte, iced coffee and the usual hot coffee along with homemade fresh baked goods daily.

“I’d like to be open for breakfast,” Murphy said.

One reason Murphy stated he wants to go with green beans, as opposed to standard roasted beans, is due to its shelf life, which he said lasts longer and stays fresh for a longer time.

Committee member Connie Javens asked Murphy how many employees he looks to start with upon opening, to which he had stated between three full-time and six part-time.

“I’m not trying to go off gangbusters, I want to make sure that my product is really high-quality, and that everything we make is made there,” Murphy said. “Like the green beans we make for our coffee, we have a roaster and we roast them right there, which is nice because it’s a lot cheaper to buy green beans than roasted beans, so it keeps my costs down and adds to the freshest coffee you can have.”

Murphy also provided a floor plan for the coffee shop to the committee, and stated that the shop would have seating for between 30 to 35 customers, which was attested by committee member Scott Shepherd, who was listed as a reference.

The shop’s location would be located with walking distance from the New Castle School of Trades’ East Liverpool campus and Kent State University East Liverpool, which Murphy also mentioned would serve as a benefit for students for breakfast and lunch hours.

One committee member who looks forward to seeing the shop open was Don Heldman, who stated “Fifth and Sixth Street and Market used to be the big booming area of East Liverpool. We’ve got eight stores on those two corners and eight stores empty. It would be nice to have a store come back in the area no matter what store it is, and so I think it’s a good idea really.”

Following discussions and recommendations by executive director Bill Cowan for Murphy to consider a second mortgage, the committee voted in favor of recommending that the CIC Board of Trustees approved the request with a 5-0 vote. Fred Kane and Al Fricano were absent from Thursday’s meeting, while Shepherd abstained his vote.

That recommendation will be made to the CIC Board of Trustees during its meeting next week.

In other matters, Cowan announced that the CIC has received the results from its basic audit from the state auditor’s office for 2017, confirming a clean audit for the corporation. The audit found no significant compliance or accounting issues.