CLARKSVILLE – Another enterprise was formally welcomed to Clarksville’s suddenly seemingly crowded business district Saturday: a small coffee shop on Howard Street, brewing coffee with a sense of mission.
White Field Farm Cafe is another project of Sister Maria Kallis and Sister Elizabeth Brandenburg, a pair of Greek Orthodox nuns. They have been operating White Field Farm, which produces candles and other home goods, in Clarksville for around a year.
Both projects are meant to help women survivors of abuse — White Field Farm provides employment opportunities for survivors, and the newly opened cafe raises money to support housing for people trying to leave an abusive situation. They are currently housing one woman in the area.
The cafe opened for business during Applefest last month. Its part of a series of businesses that have opened their doors in Clarksville in recent months, including Steamboat Bistro on First Street, Clarksville Riverview Restaurant on Second Street and Cherry’s Bar and Grill, which took over the location of Tubby’s Pub and Grub.
The people behind the cafe hope that a small coffee shop can find a niche in the developing ecosystem.
“There isn’t one. There’s nowhere to get coffee. There’s also not really a place for somebody to just grab something to eat real quick. There is the sit-down restaurants and there is the bar, which are great, but we wanted to offer something that was maybe a little bit easier for the people who work in the community,” Kallis said.
So far, business has been decent.
“We get a pretty good crowd. Its not packed or something, but we didn’t expect that because its a pretty small community,” Kallis said.
Kallis said they tried to stay “real simple and basic” when drawing up their menu. Their coffee beans are sourced from Kaldi’s Coffee in St. Louis.
“Its a really cool company, delicious coffee,” Kallis said. “We wanted to stay local because its just important to stay close to wherever you are, to be part of the local community.
Clarksville offered a couple of advantages for Kallis and Brandenburg, including its low cost of living compared to Long Island, N.Y., where they had lived previously. Eight people now work at the two enterprises combined.
The timing of their move put them on the business end this year’s flooding. The impact was lessened by the efforts of to protect the core of Clarksville’s downtown, where their candle studio was located, and by support from their landlord, Historic Clarksville Incorporated, Kallis said. Because they don’t operate a storefront in Clarksville affiliated with their candle marketing they only had to handle some difficulties shipping out orders.
If the persistent worry about possible flooding is lifted, Kallis said, Clarksville might be able to pick up even more momentum.
“It seems like hopefully there will be a solution to the flood[ing]. If that gets solved, if there’s actually movement and something put up to protect the town, I think it will grow a lot more, because businesses won’t think
The location of the cafe had previously served as the home of B.T. Dove Antiques, and, well before that, as the office of the Clarksville Sentinel. According to a historic inventory prepared for the Missouri Department of Historic Preservation it was built roughly between 1867 and 1871.
The business is open from Friday through Monday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. From Tuesday to Thursday the cafe serves lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m.