New shop opens in downtown Waupaca
By Angie Landsverk
When Len and Mary Sheard saw a “for rent” sign in a vacant downtown storefront, they decided to open a coffee shop in it.
They opened The Sanctuary on May 5.
“We decided to give it a whirl,” she said.
The couple first began thinking about such a concept a couple years ago.
Their original thought was to have a space for ministry.
That idea expanded into a coffee shop, which could also be used by churches and groups for Bible studies, programs and meetings.
After Rhythm & Brews opened, they put their idea aside.
When that business closed last year, the Sheards felt there was a need in the community for a place where people could go to read and visit with friends and for groups to meet.
They opened their coffee shop in the former Rhythm & Brews space, at 107 W. Fulton St.
Naming their business “The Sanctuary” was Len’s idea.
They said a sanctuary is a quiet, peaceful, safe place.
That is why the tagline for their business is “a refuge where coffee is served.”
Len said, “We have people come here with their laptops, and they are here for four hours. Some use it for their mobile office, It’s a different environment, if you’re looking for a place to catch up on your email or talk to your best friend for three hours.”
They described opening the business as challenging, fun and a learning experience.
Len is a retired marketing and sales professional, and Mary is a retired teacher.
They wanted their coffee shop to have the feeling of a European courtyard, and the 6-foot-by-12-foot mural on one of the walls is their focal point.
“We put in three outlets with the USB cords and high top tables, so it’s conducive to using Wi-Fi,” he said.
They changed the colors on the walls.
Mary said the upper room may be used by small groups at no charge during business hours.
They hope their coffee shop may also be a venue for evening programs.
Before opening the business, Len and Mary both became certified food handlers.
Mary does the baking and the majority of the cooking. The business features her made-from-scratch cheesecake and cookies.
They serve Fair Trade organic coffee, Novus pouch tea and breakfast and lunch items.
“We started simple,” Mary said of their menu. “We offer our signature beverages, the Mocha Java Shake and Chilled Vienna Coffee. Those two items are made with ingredients not found in this part of our country.”
Their menu also includes the Dr. Seuss Wrap, Len’s creation featuring guacamole, eggs and ham in a spinach wrap, and Mary’s Favorite Spinach Salad.
“We are blessed with two experienced baristas,” Mary said, noting two of their employees were her preschool students years ago.
The Sheards pay their employees above the minimum wage.
What customers place in the tip jar on the counter is being given to a designated Waupaca area nonprofit each month.
“Our employees are supportive of the idea,” Mary said.
May’s tips went to the Pregnancy Information Center, and June’s will go to Riverside Bible Camp.
The Sanctuary is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with an Early Bird Coffee Hour from 7-8 a.m. on those days. It is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday.
“We hope to eventually expand our hours and also be available in the evenings for classes, meetings,” Mary said.
The Sheards are holding their grand opening on Thursday, June 18. There will be expanded hours and free samples throughout the day.
On Saturday, June 20, which is Strawberry Fest, they will have a Strawberry Mocha Java Shake and strawberry cheesecake.
Mary said they want to be good neighbors and are offering different items at their coffee shop.
They want The Sanctuary to be inviting to people of all ages.
People may reach them there at 715-281-1488 and find The Sanctuary on Facebook at www.facebook.com/the.sanctuary.coffee.shop.