Ever walk into a new place and immediately feel at home, comfortable and truly welcome? This coffee shop is THAT place. It is the “Cheers” of Monticello, where everybody knows your name – or soon will.
Story by Renee Durham
In a small coffee shop in Monticello, Arkansas, there is always sunshine beaming. You’ll know what I mean when you walk in the door and see the smile on Annette Taylor’s face. It warms you like the sun. You feel truly welcome and comfortable; at home – but we’ll come back to that.
Annette Taylor had started college. As is the case with so many people, life soon took over. Marriage, kids, job, and house all played a part in putting her college education on the back burner. For years she had a career in sales, traveling. After the kids left home, she went back to school; finally receiving her Master’s degree.
Annette’s husband is from the Southeast Arkansas area, and they moved back to the state when he took a job in Pine Bluff. Her daughter and son-in-law soon followed. Annette and her daughter, Lore Dugger, were used to finding coffee shops on weekends when they lived in Nevada just two short years ago. The mother-daughter duo soon found out there were limited options for coffee enthusiasts in Arkansas.
The idea of Monticello Coffee Company was born. Annette and Lore went to coffee school in Texas where they learned about the business, operations and management side of ownership, along with extensive barista training. The three-day sessions, along with Annette and Lore’s strong principles of honesty, being kind, customer service and paying-it-forward set them up for success. Annette and Lore set a plan to change people’s lives in the Monticello area by creating and doing what they love.
From locating a building and doing her own traffic counts to selecting her staff, Annette has kept the community in mind. Her employee team is mostly college students from the University of Arkansas Monticello campus. She and her daughter also have two high school student employees. Their staff creed is “customers are our lives.” Annette wants everyone to have a great experience at Monticello Coffee Company.
It took nine months from conception to opening. During planning, she knew they would use local vendors and suppliers like Alexander Farms, Village Oven, and Sysco. Local farmers supply honey, fruit, and vegetables. Bakery items like the ‘seriously cinnamon rolls’ come from a Village Oven, while the snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies come from a local woman. Lore makes all the syrups for the coffees and teas. The menu has a wide variety of coffee and teas available; sandwiches and freshly baked pastries are available as well, making the shop a great lunch option.
Monticello Coffee Company is bringing a sense of community back into our crazy, busy world and especially in this town of just under 10,000 people. They opened the doors about a month ago, and have created an atmosphere conducive to bringing people together and serving their community by keeping it local. Annette believed in herself enough to make this dream happen and one of her greatest accomplishments for the business is “making it, and making it the best.”
Swing by on some Fridays for jazz or on the first Saturday of every month for Coffee and Cars. The décor is warm nostalgic and rustic industrial. It is the perfect place to have an event or meeting, or to simply relax and read a chapter while enjoying a delicious latte.
And what is a coffee house without free Wi-Fi? Monticello Coffee Company has it, so you can connect with the community and the world.