Broad Street Market coffee stand to open new storefront

Ioannis Pashakis//August 12, 2019

Broad Street Market coffee stand to open new storefront

Ioannis Pashakis//August 12, 2019

Elementary Coffee Co. owner Andrea Grove prepares a coffee at her stand in the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg. PHOTO/IOANNIS PASHAKIS

A love for roasting coffee beans and a knack for management led Andrea Grove to open a coffee shop in the Broad Street Market in 2014.

Five years later, Harrisburg-based Elementary Coffee Co. is finding the market’s three-days-a-week schedule is not enough to satiate thirsty customers.

The coffee shop roasts its coffee in the market’s stone building and sells everything from lattes and cold brews to specials like The Dreamer, a drink with flavors of lavender and rosemary, from the market’s brick building.

In September, Elementary plans to move its roasting operations in the market to a new standalone store and roasting operation down the street to keep the business open every day.

The current coffee stand at the market will also remain open.

Grove learned how to roast coffee as an employee of St. Thomas Roasters in Lower Paxton Township. She worked as a roaster under the tutelage of St. Thomas’ owner, Geof Smith, and soon began managing some of St. Thomas’ operations and formulating her own cold brew to sell at the business’ stand at a local farmers market.

Elementary Coffee Co.’s newest location is finishing renovations for a planned September opening date. PHOTO/IOANNIS PASHAKIS

After going through the process of coming up with a product and seeing it become a reality, Grove realized she wanted to open her own business.

Grove was 26 when the business opened and, for the first two years, she kept a working relationship with her former employer, roasting Elementary Coffee Co.’s coffee beans at St. Thomas after hours.

Elementary Coffee’s Broad Street Market stand was a gamble for Grove when she opened the business in 2014. She said a friend gave her the idea to plant her budding business at the market but the market was not as popular then as it is today.

“It had been on the decline for so many years and so many vendors we loved left, so I just didn’t go in there because there wasn’t anyone I enjoyed,” she said, noting that the market’s manager at the time convinced her to give it a chance. “She was passionate about the city and the market and I was passionate about the coffee and the community and we merged those things.”

Two years after opening at the market, Elementary Coffee began roasting its own coffee at a second stand. The new stand was meant to act as a location for events and coffee tastings but Grove said it proved difficult to dedicate the time needed to grow customer interest.

With the coffee stand now reaching its fifth year, Elementary Coffee has outgrown its first home and plans to open its second coffee shop at 256 North St.

For Grove, the new location brings a bevy of options that were not practical at either of the shop’s market stands. She will be able to offer her employees full-time work and increase her staff from six people to 12.

“Being open only three days a week was beneficial for us at first, it kept people interested in us because they could only get our coffee three days a week,” she said. “But it became exhausting. Our staff has to work two to three jobs to make ends meet.”

The new space will give the company room to prepare products like syrups in-house rather than in Grove’s home. It will also allow Elementary Coffee to host community events.

Grove said her business doesn’t shy away from political advocacy and getting involved in causes that matter to her and her staff such as reproductive rights and pay equality for women. The new building will allow the staff to express these opinions without affecting the market’s voice.

The new location was expected to open earlier in the year but renovations to the building pushed the opening day into late summer or early fall.

Renovation of the North Street has been a major undertaking. The blighted building, formerly the French restaurant The Coventry, sat unused for over 20 years before it was purchased by Dauphin County Prothonotary Matt Krupp.

Grove said if by September there is still more work to be done, she could see Elementary having a soft opening in the new space with fewer food options and no seating.