After Waseca’s only independently owned coffee shop closed in May of 2018, some locals wondered if that was the end of lounging with a book and a cup of espresso in the historic downtown building.
“When the Daily Grind closed we really missed that,” said Peggy Larkin, a longtime customer. “It was a really great place to hang out. We didn’t know what was going to happen.”
The Daily Grind was owned by Tracy Jevning, whose business provided a platform for a number of community meetings and events over 19 years. Her husband, Mike Jevning, ran the establishment after she passed away following a battle with cancer in 2017.
Carrie Sharp, a long-time customer of the Daily Grind, purchased the building with her husband Jeremy right around the time it closed in May. Along with the new coffee shop, it houses ICAN, an organization that serves people with disabilities, and several second floor apartments on the corner of State Street and Elm Avenue (old Highway 14), at the town’s busiest intersection.
While some of the food and coffee are the same, Sharp saw an opportunity to attract a morning, noon and evening crowd. Following several months of renovation, she opened Trio Coffee, Wine and Ale House in early October. After spending nearly two decades as a social worker, the idea of running her own business had been on her mind for several years.
“I have always been interested in doing something like this, Sharp said. “The wine and the beer is a passion, my husband brews at home. We typically brew together and we love visiting wineries. We loved the coffee and so we thought let’s keep all three, and do a grouping of the three of them together, so that’s how we came up with Trio.”
Some things have remained the same. Half of her staff of 11 were employees at the Daily Grind. The coffee is sourced from European Roasterie in Le Center and some of the popular Panini sandwiches are the same. She also had the chance to work at the Daily Grind before it closed.
“The last month that the Daily Grind was in operation, the owner, Mike, hired me on to fill in for one of the staff that was on maternity leave,” Sharp said. “So I had the opportunity to meet the staff and work with them.”
She said that many of the customers, particularly the regulars who come in to work on their computer, get their morning coffee, or come for a lunch break have remained loyal. Sharp says there are new customers who come for a glass of wine or craft beer to relax at the end of the day. She says the two bakers working for her make cheesecake and homemade scones, and there is a revolving display of other baked goods along with naan pizza, deconstructed gyros, and hors devours like smoked salmon and a hummus platter.
“We had a whiteboard at home and we’d write stuff down and then we’d erase it and add things to it,” Sharp said. “We’re constantly evolving that.”
They also have 15 wines to choose from, experimental craft beers like sour ale, and beers brewed with mangos and apricots.
For non-alcoholic options, they have bottles of ginger beer and kombucha on tap, a fermented low alcohol beverage equivalent to non-alcoholic beer that is brewed using tea leaves, fruit and spices. Sharp said Minneapolis-based Feral Beverage Co. works with the same distributor as European Roasterie. She was impressed with the variety of flavors, like ginger, mint, cayenne and hibiscus.
“We can pick any of those flavors,” she said. We drive up there and we get kegs from them. It’s two guys that make kombucha in a pretty small area.”
Sharp is planning extra seating for special events in the basement. Zinnia’s Boutique have set up a temporary shop there were Trio customers can browse with a glass of wine. The building is the site of Citizens National Bank which operated in the late 1800s. Sharp hopes to build a wine cellar in the old bank vault and expand soft seating options for more of a living room feel. The walls are adorned with Larkin’s artwork, whose daughter works at Trio and prior to that, was an employee of the Daily Grind.
Sharp’s son, a guitar player, has performed at Trio and his first guitar on the wall is available for anyone to play. And Trio has jazz ensembles lined up to perform there in the future. Sharp also plans to buy a piano available for any customer who feels the creative urge. It’s all part of an ongoing effort to make Trio a multi-use community space among renewed interest in the downtown area. As she looks out the window while enjoying a cup of coffee, Sharp notes how busy the downtown area is.
“My big dream, and I know a lot of other businesses downtown, is to revitalize the downtown area. We’re trying to pull people in. I think we’re making a comeback with a lot of the stores down here.”