As a former manager of Starbucks, Lindsey Saunders has the whole barista thing down. Add in her culinary arts, baking and pastry degrees and she's a veritable coffeehouse in the flesh.
Saunders, co-owner of Maine Star Coffee, 237 Jacksonville Road in Hatboro, took what she mastered elsewhere and improved upon it for her new business, which opened Tuesday within Hatboro Lofts.
"It's unique," Saunders said of the cozy and bright 55-seat coffeehouse, which carries a summer vacation theme in its name and decor thanks to co-owner Dexter Watson, who financed the $350,000 makeover and enjoys vacationing in Maine. "It's a nice place to hang out."
At least that's the hope. In addition to offering free wi/fi like Maine Star's chain counterparts, Saunders plans to this week begin offering quizzo (Wednesdays 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) open mic nights (Thursdays 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.), live music (Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and storytime for kids (Sundays from noon to 2 p.m.)
Another difference between Maine Star and the chains, according to Saunders, is that her goal is to "keep our products local." Maine Star serves One Village Coffee from Souderton and uses products from Tanner Brothers Dairy Farm in Bucks County.
Some of these local ingredients could come in handy for Maine Star's signature drink - the Tai Tea Hot Chocolate. Saunders said the concoction features a white mocha syrup, hot chocolate, half tai tea, steamed milk and whipped cream.
And whether customers come for tea, coffee, pastries, or in the future, sandwiches, soups, salads and crepes, Hatboro Main Street Manager Stephen Barth said the location - as part of the 300-unit Hatboro Lofts - is perfect.
"They have a nice kind of built-in clientele," Barth said. "It gives them kind of a community gathering place."
Barth said the roughly 3,000-square-foot space came a long way since the owners and their architects started making plans for its evolution a year ago.
"It was like warehouse space," Barth said. "Big industrial pipes hanging down. You could see all the beams."
Now, with fresh paint, a sound-proof ceiling, room for bands to perform and some space to add another 10 to 15 seats via comfy couches, Saunders said she and her staff of 12 are now looking forward to meeting the folks who make Hatboro the "quaint" town that initially attracted her to the site.
"The people in the borough really support the local businesses," she said. "We're just excited to meet people."
Maine Star Coffee is open Monday through Thursday 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.