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Coffee shop reopens under new name

Liliann Bryse, Kris Le Roy and Connie Plourde, all of Somerset, stopped by the new Café Latte for drinks after working out in the Training Room. Debbie Lewis (standing), co-owner of the shop at 701 Rivard St, serves them. "This is the perfect place to get together," Le Roy said. "I especially like the little treats on the tables."

After a several week drought, the coffee flows in Somerset again.

Latte Café and Movies, formerly Sophia's, at 701 Rivard St. reopened on Dec. 31 under new ownership.

Debbie Lewis, co-owner with her brother, Scott Zahnow, stood behind the counter of her newest establishment to explain the rationale behind the reopening.

As owners of the 5-year-old Expresso Drive Thru at 655 N. Knowles Ave. in New Richmond, they know their beans about the coffee business.

"We own five car washes already," Lewis said of her family. "One day Scott read about a car wash that hooked on a coffee shop for its customers. We decided to venture out into something bigger."

They already owned the movie side of Sophia's, so Lewis said it was natural to make a bid for the entire shop when it went to went up for sale Oct. 29.

The coffee shop, which was three years old at the time of purchase, now boasts a children's play area, wireless Internet, fireplace area and seating area. Lewis said they are working on having two computers up and ready for customers as well as a conference room available.

"We've already been approached by Mary Kay and Pampered Chef representatives, and other business too for the meeting space," Lewis said. "We'll be able to serve lunches, or a breakfast of coffee and doughnuts."

The menu has also expanded its offerings. Homemade caramel rolls are baked fresh everyday, four different kinds of coffee, and a variety of soup, sandwiches, desserts, smoothies, soda, pizza and soft-serve ice cream are available.

"We also do an egg bake with English muffins on Sunday mornings," Lewis added.

Café Latte's hours are Monday-Thursday from 6 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Their phone number is 247-2777.

For Lewis, the contrast of owning a sit-down coffee house versus a drive-through is very exciting.

"My daughter Rachel is running the drive-through until I get this shop running smoothly," Lewis said. "But I will be splitting my time between the two eventually.

"I'm not planning on backing out; I'm very hands-on," Lewis continued. "The drive-through is very fast - you get your coffee, don't have to bring your kids out of the car. Here it's more relaxed. You can listen to the people chatter and have fun. That's what is important to me."