Coffeehouse opens today

·3 min read

Jun. 24—GREENSBURG — The long discussed Christian coffeehouse "The Branch" in the old Schlemmer Wholesale Building on the east side of the Historic Greensburg Square opens today. After 2-and-a-half years of suspense and planning, Greensburg's soon-to-be coffeehouse culture can finally "roast" somewhere kind of hip, funky, and ultra-modern in the very heart of town.

The rough hewn wooden warehouse floors have been sanded and polished. The furniture — "four-tops" with black chairs and lush leather couches snuggled in front of the panoramic window looking out onto the rustic brick sidewalks of downtown Greensburg — all are in place.

A slice of history itself, a glass multilevel antique candy cabinet from the original Murphy's Building, donated by the Rust family sits in the front cash-wrap barista work area, ready to hold a yummy selection of goodies homemade by Greensburg's own master baker and chef Deb Sellers. The computerized register is ready to ring up purchases all day for sated customers' beverages.

A sizeable team of newly trained baristas stand ready for last minute tasks before the doors open, workers put final touches on the newly painted columns holding up the beautiful antique tile ceiling and masterminds of the Alex Sefton and Susan Burkhart and barista extraordinaire Kenzie Ebbing mill around directing traffic.

"Steve Bayless from Crimson Cup came in and trained all day Monday afternoon. They trained all day yesterday and all day this morning," Sefton said.

Burkhart has sat on many committees for the project since its inception, and will be working as a barista one day a week.

"Monday we learned espresso, Tuesday we learned lattes and cappuccinos and today we learned the frozen drinks," she said.

Sefton points proudly to a framed photo circa 1940s of women standing behind a counter — the same counter that sits there today. "This was donated...it's a picture of our building from 1942."

Illustration board cutouts of coffee cups with names inscribed on them cover an entire wall beside the chic restrooms. "This is our donor wall," Burkhart said. "You know how this community is — when there's a project to do, we all come together."

Since the very first announcement of the idea of a Christian Coffeehouse in the heart of Greensburg, this community has indeed "come together." A board of directors and advisors have guided Sefton and the project the entire way.

It's been an act of love, definitely, but for a while, there seemed to be an "experimental" side to the project. "Can a religion-based not-for-profit organization run a for-profit business," was the question on Greensburg's mind. But fundraiser after fundraiser, private donations galore, and even a Patronicity campaign proved out. Yes. It can be done.

"It feels so good to stand here and look around. So many conversations have been had in this building over this project, it's just bewildering," Sefton said. "But I have to pinch myself to see if it's real.

And indeed it is, Alex. Congratulations. You did it.

The soft opening for the branch is at 9 a.m. today, but the grand opening is Friday. Events for the week will be announced on The Branch's Facebook page.

Stop by, and take a sip of what's new in Greensburg.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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