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A Year In The Life Of Mag’s Coffee Shop

Written by Ken Bradford

Back in January 2010, somewhere in the middle of chasing dolphins and tromping through alligators in the Florida Keys, the idea of opening a “coffee shop” was born.

Everyone seemed to like the idea, so Maggie and Ashley started working on the color scheme for the shop and arrived at dark brown, golden yellow and turquoise. Ken began thinking of business names and working on the logo design for the business.

Since Maggie is from Texas, understanding that the logo must contain the “lone star” was a no brainer and the best name for the shop seemed to be “Lonestar Coffee Shop & Trading; Company”. It was a good idea until we visited the local sign company. We soon realized that the name must be shorter, a lot shorter. After many failed attempts, “Mag’s Coffee” just seemed to be appropriate and affordable.

After searching over the Clarksville area, Maggie fell in love with this “rag-tag” building at the corner of Riverside Dr. and Commerce St. and in February renovations began. Creating a fully functional coffee shop inside such a small building was a task, so we had to maximize every square inch.

We spent a couple of months sampling coffee from all over the world to make sure that we were going to serve the best coffee in town. We eventually chose a coffee from Guatemala as our house coffee. Mag wanted to put her personal touch on this coffee, so she named it “Splendora”. Splendora is a small town in East Texas where her Aunt Linnie lives.

We also realized we must cater to the non-coffee drinkers, so shaved ice, Italian sodas, steamers and smoothies were added to the menu.

At the end of April, with everything going as scheduled, a grand opening date of May 14, 2010 was established.

Maggie and Dana
Maggie and Dana

The flower beds were professionally landscaped and on May 2, 2010, the parking lot was freshly paved, just before the rains began. Flash flood warnings were out for most of the area and the rain continued to come down very hard. To complicate things, the Corp of Engineers made the decision to release water from several dams in Nashville and unfortunately, all of this water came down the Cumberland River to Clarksville.

On May 3, 2010, the Cumberland had reached flood stage and the water quickly rose up the hill at Mag’s Coffee Shop and on May 4, 2010, the newly renovated coffee shop was at the bottom of the river. We still believe we could have withstood the rains, but all that water coming down the river was just too much too fast.

As we stood on the hill on Commerce St., we were overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness and yes, at times, even hopelessness.

Several days after the river had crested at over 60 feet, the waters began to recede, leaving a dark water line about 30 inches high on our exterior and interior walls. Our newly resurfaced parking lot was a blanket of mud and our newly landscaped flower beds were destroyed. Renovations had to begin once again, but this time we had no electricity.

We had made the decision to make both our Moms part of our business, so we designed “Millie’s Garden” and “Alma’s Rose”. Ironically, the only flowers which survived the flood waters were the daylilies in “Millie’s Garden” and the rose bush in “Alma’s Rose”. Our Mom’s were with us during these very trying times and they just seemed to tell us just to press on.

Even though the flood damaged our building, many business owners up and down Riverside Dr. were under several feet of water and were at the point where they didn’t know if they would ever

re-open.

We wanted to do something to help, so we brought the grill up to the shop and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs and delivered them to the working business owners. The sad part here is that someone decided to borrow our grill for an evening cookout and forget to ever return it.

On June 30, 2010, Mag’s Coffee Shop finally got to hold its Grand Opening celebration with a mission of serving excellent coffee and non-coffee beverages and being a good, friendly place to come sit and relax for a while. We also felt that getting access to the internet should not be complicated and should not be something you have to pay for in addition to paying for a drink or a snack.

Mag’s Coffee was also interested and doing what we could to help our environment, so a full re-cycling program was implemented, from our glass and plastics to our coffee grounds. We are proud to say that we are a Green Business.

Shortly after our grand opening, the “Spunky Monkey” was born. It seemed like every week we were coming up with new drinks like, “Banana Split”, “Riverside Flood” and many more.

It seemed like no time until it was time for the holidays. Mag’s Coffee Shop was all decked out in its holiday attire and new holiday drinks were developed. It was at this point that Mag decided to decorate the shop for each season. So don’t be surprised to see hearts, shamrocks, snowflakes, stars, flamingos or flags lit up on the wall.

Cleaning the espresso machine after making a cup
Cleaning the espresso machine after making a cup

We have affectionately named Mag’s very small kitchen – “The Hollow Tree”. It is here that Mag creates here famous sausage roll and prepares her delicious muffins, truffle cakes, Banoffee Pie and other amazing homemade goodies.

We would like to thank Amanda, Andrea, Andrew, Ashley, Caleb, Dana, Kali, Kat, Laurie and Renee for their hard work and dedication to making the best drinks in town and providing exceptional service to our customers.

We would like to thank Green Bank, Clarksville Police Department, Clarksville Chamber of Commerce, WTVF-News Channel 5, Sign’s Now, Orgain Building Supply, The Leaf Chronicle, Vienna Coffee Company, Rainbow Electric, Five Star Plumbing, Rick’s Services, Dallas, Dwayne, Dale and Kevin for their help, concern and services during some very trying times.

We would like to extend a special thanks to Bill Larson of Clarksville Online for not only being a loyal customer, but more importantly, for hanging in there with us from the flood until now.

We also want to express our thanks and our love to our family and friends for their hard work and encouragement.

We have entertained visitors from all over the United States and many foreign countries like, Wales, France, and Germany. We have made many new friendships and attracted many loyal customers during our first year. We want to extend our sincere appreciation for accepting us into the community and making our first year in business a huge success.

Even though our first anniversary is June 30, 2011, we have decided to celebrate on Saturday, July 2, 1011. Our favorite musician and singer, Jimmy Johnson, has worked us into his very busy schedule and will be performing on our patio this evening.

We will also be open late on Sunday, July 3, 2011 so our customers and friends can enjoy their favorite beverages and watch the fireworks display over the river.

Come on down to Mag’s Coffee Shop, That Little Coffee Shop By The River, and just kick back and relax for a while. We want you to feel at home and we promise to make your drink just the way you like it.

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