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Coffeehouse dream realized

Maggie Beauvais took over the coffeehouse formerly known as Cafe Latte. She admits the business venture was a longtime dream for her.

For Maggie Beauvais, it has been a dream come true.

"I always liked to bake and cook, and I imagined a little shop with mismatched chairs and tables -- a place where people could relax and enjoy each other's company," Beauvais said.

On April 1, she opened Magpie Coffee House and Café at 701 Rivard St., Somerset.

Formerly Café Latte, Beauvais bought the business from the previous owners when they decided to sell earlier this year.

"When I heard this space was changing owners back in January 2009, I had expressed interest," Beauvais said. "But my mother had gotten sick and passed away, so I wouldn't have been able to really run a business.

"So when the (former) owners approached me earlier this spring, it was like 'Maggie, here's your dream you've talked about for years -- are you going to go for it?'"

Although she has helped her husband with their painting business, she admits that running a coffee shop/café is a totally new experience.

"I have a gal in New Richmond who makes the scones, but I do my own baking, salads and sandwiches -- putting in 18-hour days. My dog doesn't even know me anymore," she said. "Debbie Lewis (former manager of Café Latte) has been a tremendous help about getting me up to speed."

Beauvais, mother of six with the youngest in high school, assumed ownership on April 1, but did not actually open as "Magpie" (her childhood nickname) until after Easter weekend.

She used the long holiday to do some renovation to the place, primarily closing up the gap in the wall that allowed access to the movie store next door.

As for her food offerings, she is trying to provide healthy choices that border on the edge, such as her homemade granola, panini grilled sandwiches and "forbidden rice salad."

"I love whole, real food," she gushed. "I have been a member of a whole foods co-op in Stillwater for 25 years. I had a choice of either taking my granola to farmer's markets in the Cities or doing this, my dream. I decided to give the dream a whirl."

The 2,300-square-foot facility sports a fireplace corner, wi-fi access and a separate meeting room that is available to rent. She hopes to offer events that will appeal to kids as well, such as karaoke or open mic nights.

Paintings by a local artist adorn the walls, but she is talking with art teachers to try to arrange displays by students in the future.

She also hopes to have an outdoor patio area when the weather gets warmer.

"I have a lot of grand ideas and plans," she laughed.

The Magpie Coffee Shop and Café is open weekdays from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays 7 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Meeting rooms are available by appointment.

"I've had the most wonderful support," Beauvais exclaimed. "People want this place to live, grow and survive. I think this can be a vibrant part of the community for a long time because people are will it so."