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John and Cheri Perry open coffee shop in Rangely
Whether you want a cold drink or a hot one, John and Cheri Perry can fix you up.
John Perry owns the Main Street Pub in Rangely, while, just down the road, his wife, Cheri, opened the Main Street Coffee House this week, where she also sells her White River Candles.
The new business makes sense, Cheri said.
“With me making candles, I always wanted a candle shop,” she said. “And John always wanted a coffee shop.”
The original plan was to turn a back room at the bar into a coffee shop.
“But that never happened,” said John, who has owned Main Street Pub about three and a half years.
Instead, the Perrys decided to put a coffee shop in a building that most recently had been a bakery. They bought the building last spring.
“We looked at leasing other buildings, but the price they wanted for rent, we figured we could buy something,” John said.
The coffee shop and candle store will make a good combination, John said.
“Both are feel-good items,” he said. “They both smell good. They will tie in together well.”
Cheri had been making candles and selling them out of her home. Her home business was called White River Candle Co. She has also sold her candles at John’s pub and at Sweetbriar, a local gift shop.
Cheri is a self-taught candle maker. She did her research online and learned by trial and error.
“I think I finally got it,” she said. “I finally got my formula down. I was doing it in my kitchen, but it was consuming my house.”
The Perrys were working long hours to get the coffee shop ready to open.
“We plan to do a soft open and see what happens,” John said. “We’ll see what works for people. Then, adjust it. We’ll play around with it (the hours). We’re not those type of business people who do what is convenient for us.”
One thing, for sure, the Perrys want to open early enough to accommodate the work crowd.
“One Saturday we parked across the street (from the coffeehouse) and watched cars,” John said. “In one hour, we saw 500 vehicles, between 5 and 6 a.m., go out of town.”
The coffeehouse will have a drive-through window and will offer wireless Internet. It will also serve food for people on the go.
“The idea is in five minutes or less, you have your food, just as fast as we can make it and get it out the door,” John said.
While they will serve food as well as fruit smoothies, the main product, of course, will be coffee. Good coffee.
“We’ll serve all of the espresso drinks,” John said. “The regular cup of coffee is not what we’re after. That’s not the market we’re shooting for. We’re after the more true espresso people. We want it to be the best cup of coffee anywhere. That’s our goal.”
The Perrys received training on how to make a good espresso coffee.
“Neither of us had barista experience,” John said. “So we had a barista from Grand Junction train us. She knows her stuff.”
The barista was with a company called Colorado Legacy Coffee, which roasts its own coffee beans. That’s where the Perrys buy their coffee beans, which are roasted fresh weekly.
During the training period, the Perrys drank a lot of samples.
“That’s how we figured out what was the best coffee,” Cheri said.
Along with serving espresso drinks, Cheri will sell candles, which are displayed on shelves inside the coffee shop. She uses a back room to make her candles. The most popular scented candle she sells is called Gun Powder and Lead.
“Both guys and girls buy it,” John said. “We can’t keep it on the shelf.”
One thing that makes White River Candles unique is there is also wax and a wick on the inside of the jar lid. So, it’s like getting two candles in one.
“John came up with that,” Cheri said. “We were looking at an empty jar and thought that’s wasted space.”
The Perrys’ new venture is a family affair, with daughters Aschley, 18, and Krystin, 16, also helping out.
Despite the sour economic news of late, John believes the combination candle store and coffee shop can be successful.
“To me, the candle shop by itself couldn’t support itself, but, together, they can,” John said. “Luckily, we still have a boom town. So, hopefully, we’ll be all right.”
Main Street Coffee House will fill a need in the community for a gathering place, John said. The coffee shop has a lounge area with leather furniture, as well as counter and table seating.
“Rangely needs places to hang out,” John said. “We want to make it a place where people want to go and enjoy themselves and relax and, hopefully, buy lots of coffee.”