So why put a coffee shop inside of a nursery?
Back when my husband, Dan, and I started to get involved in the management of Warner’s Nursery & Landscaping, my Dad sent the two of us on a tour of garden centers in England. It was an amazing trip, and one thing I noticed was that many of these gardening stores had restaurants or tea and coffee shops right inside the nursery.
The mix of gardening and coffee isn’t as popular in the U.S., but the idea of having a coffee shop here at Warner’s always stayed with me. I think that with the crazy hours we work, particularly in the spring, the idea of having a coffee shop right here so I can get a caffeine fix without leaving the premises was really appealing!
For several years, as I was traveling for work or pleasure, I’d write down things I liked about different coffee shops – the displays, the signage, the menu items, the seating – all with the thought that, someday, Warner’s would open its own coffee place.
Finally, the timing seemed right. It was during our slow time in winter. There were no big projects on the horizon and I wanted to keep my team busy. Most of the work creating Dottie’s was done by our staffers, with me trying my hand at being a general contractor. It was both thrilling and terrifying, but it turned out great!
And then I found out something funny – I knew exactly how our space it should look, but nothing about operating a coffee shop!
Thank goodness for Marni and our niece, Amanda. They picked out the espresso machine, the grinder, and the other equipment we needed. Amanda had experience in the industry, so she developed our operations manual and inventory plan. They also hooked us up with a local coffee vendor, the amazing Matador Coffee.
So we had the space, the equipment, and the coffee – now all we needed was a name.
Everyone loved my grandmother, Dot. She started Warner’s Nursery back in 1970 and even after she retired, I remember her coming in to check that everything was running smoothly. She noticed every detail and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to ensure success. I wanted to honor the fact that none of us would have this amazing life and company if it weren’t for her. A friend of ours who knew our grandma and used to work at Warner’s came up with the perfect name that captured everything I wanted it to be – Dottie’s Garden Coffee Shoppe.
What makes me so happy about Dottie’s (besides having high-quality coffee on demand when I need to refuel) is that creating it was a real family and friend affair.
From Dan and his landscaping crew constructing the counter and installing the new flooring and tile, to our niece sharing her expertise, to friends old and new helping out, starting Dottie’s was an amazing collaborative experience.
I feel it every time I see someone sitting down with a cup of our coffee. I hope you can taste the love in every cup. And I know my grandmother would be proud.
PS – Our coffee shop is open every day from 8 am to 4 pm.