Station to get a new cafe and bakery – Waterbury Roundabout
Added an “open” bakery
Revitalizing Waterbury has owned Waterbury Station since 2006. It leased most of the facility to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, who operated a cafe and visitor center there including a cafe, customer seating and exhibits telling the story of Green Mountain coffee. The cafe and visitor center closed in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and in January 2021 its parent company Keurig Dr. Pepper announced that it would not reopen operation.
In seeking a new tenant to occupy the property which has become an anchor for the town centre, Revitalizing Waterbury sought out businesses willing to be a good steward of the historic building and part of the local community.
Preparing the space to reopen will take several months. Mark Pomilio Jr., director of economic development for Revitalizing Waterbury, said the hope was for Black Cap to open within six months. Converting the space will require some renovations, he explained.
Black Cap plans to use the station not only to serve customers in person, but also to supply its other stores. As part of the deal with Revitalizing Waterbury, Black Cap will convert the central section of the station into an open bakery offering baked goods for sale and to help supply other sites in the chain.
Pomilio explained that the “open” nature means the bakery will be partially glazed so customers can see into the kitchen where pastries and other items are being made. A four- or five-foot wall would have glass above allowing bakery staff to be seen at work, he said.
Vilalta said she loves the open bakery concept. “It reinforces the idea that everything we serve is homemade from scratch,” she said.
Bringing the station back to the cafe scene
Black Cap also serves Brave Coffee which is roasted in Waterbury. “Black Cap has become a great source of growth for us, not only because we serve all three current locations, but also because many tourists pass through their Stowe location and then return home and buy Brave online,” said said Brave owner Scott Weigand. “I see this as another opportunity for us to raise awareness of Brave and work towards becoming Waterbury’s hometown cafe.”
Asked how Black Cap will fit into Waterbury’s cafe and cafe scene with around half a dozen other establishments serving a combination of coffee, breakfast and lunch, Vilalta said she appreciated the variety . “We’re all different. Like here in Stowe. There are eight different cafes. Everyone’s different. We all have our market and that’s fine,” she said.
She pointed out that the Stowe store in particular has created a personality that goes beyond food and coffee. It sells an eclectic mix of retail items such as cards and home décor, small furniture and artwork with a Vermont flair. She stopped and added with a laugh, “It’s full of cows, cows, cows.
Stowe Kitchen Bath & Linens provides the merchandise and changes it often, Vilalta said. “We try things. We adapt to the market,” she said, pointing out that this is a different approach than, for example, Stowe Street Cafe’s assortment of art and gift items that features works by Vermont artists and artisans.
Weigand also noted that Brave Coffee has supplied Stowe Street Cafe with a specialty coffee blend since it opened in 2015, “and it will continue to do so.”
Stowe Street Cafe owner Nicole Grenier confirms that the special Brave blend will remain a staple in cafes for hot and cold brews and for sale by the bag. But looking ahead to Black Cap operating at the station, Grenier said his cafe will make some adjustments, such as adding Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea and possibly other local coffee producers to its offerings. Vermont Artisan, in turn, runs another local cafe with coffee, tea and baked goods at its roastery on Route 100 in Waterbury Center.
Grenier said she thinks there is enough differentiation and community support for all Waterbury cafes, but she said the public plays an important role. “One thing we hope people are aware of is that cafes and restaurants in general are still very much navigating the long-term impacts of the pandemic, so it is just as important as ever to continue to show all our favorite locals. spot support,” she said.
And while running the Stowe Street Cafe is Ms Grenier and her team’s top priority, she said she’s glad the station will be reopening soon. “Our team is primarily made up of Waterbury residents and community members. We recognize the importance of having a strong and thriving business at our station, and we know our customers have more than enough love for everyone,” she said.
Waiting to settle down
At the station, the new bakery will take up space previously used for seating and displays, but Black Cap’s plans will still include around 30 seats, Pomilio said, using tables and chairs, counter seating and other furniture.
Black Cap would also like to improve accessibility by building a ramp to the front porch and main entrance to the building. Pomilio said the tenant will cover the cost of these upgrades under the lease agreement.
Officials at Revitalizing Waterbury described the lease with Black Cap as “long-term”. The previous agreement with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters was for 20 years. The company, which now operates as Keurig Dr. Pepper, continued to pay rent even after the cafe closed in 2020.