Originally created 02/05/06

A corner shop where everyone knows your name



It's more than a place for a cup of coffee.

"You don't know how many times I wished and prayed for something like this," Mary Rolig said to Louise Rowland, the owner of the Coffee Corner at West and Clifton avenues in North Augusta.

The coffee shop, which opened about 18 months ago, has become a gathering place for many in the community.

"It's a social center," said Norma Walker, who visits the shop on a regular basis her husband, Norman.

Many of the morning regulars are members of the Jesse Lynch Memorial American Legion Post 71.

Mrs. Rowland's husband, Harry, is the commander of the American Legion's 11th district in Georgia and a member of Post 63 near Lake Olmstead in Augusta.

"We come in here to harass him," said Mrs. Walker, who two years ago became the first woman to serve as state commander of the American Legion in South Carolina.

The topics of conversation at the shop run the gamut.

"We're the information exchange," Mrs. Walker said.

"That sounds a lot better than gossip," Mrs. Rowland said.

On Monday, someone brought information about pigeons because a question came up the week before about why pigeons do not live in the woods.

"We're so educated here," said Beverly Aldrich, another American Legion member.

Despite their good-natured ribbing, the customers said they've grown to be a family of sorts.

"We sign cards when people are sick," Mrs. Rowland said.

Midge Albanese stopped by after her morning workout.

"I went to Curves. I was afraid I'd miss something," said Mrs. Albanese, who turned 84 Wednesday and celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary last week.

Mrs. Albanese, who Mrs. Rowland described as bubbly, told a story about her new car.

"I was getting ready to take my key out (outside Curves), and I hit the panic button. I didn't know what to do," she said.

At the men's table, Mr. Rowland was being ribbed about his American Legion affiliation and there was a dispute about who was the oldest at the table.

"The only thing we don't talk about is sex," Mr. Walker said with a laugh.

"The main topic we try to stay away from is religion," Mr. Rowland said.

"I discuss religion," Mr. Walker replied. He then started talking about the price of rice in Afghanistan.

At 1 p.m. each Tuesday, a group gathers to play Mexican train dominoes, and there is another group that plays checkers.

Sometimes, a Saturday rummy group keeps the shop open late, Mrs. Rowland said.

On Jan. 27, Jeanne McDaniel was at the shop signing her new book, Images of America, North Augusta, James U. Jackson's Dream, which brought in a lot of people.

Nearly 30 books were sold at the signing, Mrs. Rowland said.

The menu at the coffee shop is simple. There are a variety of coffees, lattes and cappuccinos. Soft drinks, sandwiches and pastries round it out.

Mrs. Rowland opened the shop mainly because she needed a storehouse for her mobile coffee service, Magic Brew. City regulations would not allow a warehouse in the city, but if it was attached to a restaurant then it was OK, she said.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.

Coffee Corner



Address: 300 West Ave., on the corner of West and Clifton avenues

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. until Saturday, closed Sunday

Phone: None