Local coffee shop grows into full menu cafe
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- Ella’s of Lowell is celebrating five years in business. It is no longer just a shop to grab a quick cup of coffee to go, but a place where you truly want to hang out with friends, share and write your stories while you admire the art on the walls.
It has always been a dream for owners Ella and Randall St. Germain to transform the coffee shop into an eclectic café. Now, five years later their dream has come true through hard work and building relationships with the community.
“We’re rebranding, we’re a café now with full breakfast and lunch menus,” Ella said.
This was a first business Ella had opened by herself in 2010 after helping open restaurants in Oregon and Florida.
“I love a challenge,” she said. “It was exciting. Everything was new.”
Her predecessors Kava Klatch and Voyages enjoyed shorter tenures at 307 East Main Street, home to Ella’s.
A hometown is not a hometown unless it has a locally owned sit down gathering place. Ella & Randall filled that void, plus Chimera’s Design owned by Cliff Yankovich and Ella’s mom Julie Claire DeVoie helped people connect.
Nothing stays a secret for a long time in small towns like Lowell. But, the first to break the news was Facebook and Liz Baker of the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re going to have a new coffee shop,” she said.
“Really, what is it?” I asked.
“Can’t say go on Facebook,” Baker said.
So, Ella’s Coffee & Cuisine opened during the Riverwalk.
“We always celebrate the anniversary during the Riverwalk,” Ella said.
There were many surprises in those five years, but the one that relentlessly persists is equipment failures, according to Ella. Whether it was the double door refrigerator or the flip top deli case, the crew had to replace it along with the products inside.
Ella attributes the growth from a coffee shop to a café to social media advertising such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TripAdvisor.
The building is tastefully decorated with original artwork by local artists like Gerard Wood, a book shelf with books from local authors, cases with Ella’s mugs, ceramics by Janet Krueger and handmade cards by Ida.
“The whole idea was if we were going to be here, we would evolve into a café,” Ella said. “It is a community centered gathering place that encompasses supporting local artists.”
Currently, the newest thing at Ella’s is developing the new logo branding with the timeless classic, “Ella’s of Lowell.”
The crowd that loves Ella’s varies from the morning people with laptops to lunch groups and singles.
“We’re consistently busy throughout the day, with occasional dips and peaks,” Ella said. “We get a lot of foot traffic east of the bridge.”
The restaurant seats 65 and the couple has added bigger tables for four to six people to accommodate different groups from Lowell Area Schools, King Milling, Franciscan Life Process Center, Attwood and many others.
The popular Ella’s Fellas come in on Saturdays.
Ella’s is working with a local DJ to host and promote concerts and open mike nights every other week starting late August on Thursdays or Fridays.
The café is a special place for this couple who officially married inside the shop on Oct. 22, 2011. Then on May 12, 2012 they had a reception at the Fallasburg Park.
“We’re proud to have accomplished this and we’re looking forward to another five years,” said Ella. “We have no plans to open another Ella’s.”
But they do catering for parties from minimum of 10 people up to 250.
“Our mission is making things from scratch and using local products when possible depending on the season,” she said.
Some of the favorites at Ella’s are specialty sandwiches like “Ella’s Reuben Revision.” This creation consists of grilled corned beef topped with warm kraut, melted Swiss cheese, tangy Russian style dressing and Ella’s slaw on light rye for $7.10.
“It’s very refreshing, zippy fresh,” she said.
The café offers a gluten-free substitute on any sandwiches.
“We try to make food accessible to people who have dietary concerns,” Ella said. “It’s all about the customer.”
So, the menu caters to all styles including regular, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. However, the café did source out gluten-free baked goods to a gluten-free bakery.
The Kent County Health Department has given the Food Service Award to Ella’s of Lowell for three years in a row. It carries also the 2014 Best Business to Watch Award from the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.
Ella’s carries the local Litehouse Apple Fuji vinaigrette dressing.
Their coffee roasters are:
Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters & tea, Populace Coffee from Bay City, MI and for dairy products it is Mooville Creamery.
The opening hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Sundays.
For more info go to: www.ellasoflowell.com
Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.