St. James Coffee asks community's help to stay open

Created: July 05, 2020 09:25 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The ongoing pandemic has brought many hardships to our area, especially to small businesses. One of those many small businesses affected is a coffee shop in northwest Rochester. The board president sat down with ABC 6 News and says their doors may be closed forever within a few months.

"It's really become home away from home for some people and I really want that to be able to continue," says Katherine Letellier, the board president of St. James Coffee shop. Letellier says she stumbled upon St. James one time to do some work but soon found herself being asked to be part of the board. A nurse by trade, Letellier has held the board president position for about a year or so and says making sure that the coffee shop stays open is her goal.

St. James Coffee, located in northwest Rochester, has been a part of the community for nearly a decade. The shop was founded by Father Fasnacht, says Letellier, as a place for people to come to be closer to God though not being in a church setting. The shop is also non-profit, meaning those who work are dedicating their personal time and make no money – meaning, those who came in to redo the interior of the shop when non-essential businesses were closed did it because they wanted to.

"The volunteers who came in and did the work in here truly pour two months of work into it," says Letellier.

The interior of St. James looks different compared to before they were closed for a few months. Unfortunately, while doing their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the shop lost money; Letellier tells ABC 6 News that the funds lost could mean the shop will be closed forever.

"Tentatively, it sounds like at the end of August we'll have to close our doors if aren't able to get the funds."

To keep the fresh cups of joe, along with breakfast foods and wraps, coming, St. James will need to come up with roughly eight thousand dollars by the end of August. If you choose to donate to their gofundme, you may be surprised to see they’re asking for a total of thirty thousand dollars. Those funds are to make up for a large fundraiser that can’t be rescheduled amid the ongoing pandemic.

"Our Brew Ha Ha that usually brings in thirty thousand dollars which is significant for a place that's non-profit," says St. James Board President Katherine Letellier. The thirty thousand dollars would also mean that the shop would be monetarily fine through May of 2021.


The creator of a drink called Carmelite Carmel, which is a self made creation that also calls for a shot of roasted marshmallow, says that keeping the shop open for those in the Rochester area is personal; not only because Letellier doesn’t want to let down her past board president’s down but because the community helped make St. James as successful as it has been for the last nine years.

"That's why we're asking the community to come together and really build us up again; the community is why we're here in the first place we just need to reinvigorate that."

On July 25th, from 10am through 2pm, St. James will be hosting an event in hopes of raising money. The founder of the shop will be speaking at the event; more details can be found on their Facebook Page.

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