Exeter Coffee relocates to E Street

Staci Welch relocates Exeter Coffee Company to new, larger space on E Street in downtown Exeter

By Paul Myers

EXETER–Exeter coffee lovers are already enjoying Staci Welch’s new digs.

Exeter Coffee Company’s owner is ready to welcome even more of her community in her doors since she opened her new location on E Street. Her humble shop on Pine was a perfect place to start, but since before opening in October 2017, she always wanted a little more.

“This is the space I wanted two years ago…I wanted a space for the community and a space for people to get together,” Welch said.

Welch has already seen a more-than-moderate uptick in business, fortunately she has the square footage to accommodate. Her prep and kitchen now is practically the entire size of her former space. Not to mention, she has even more store frontage real estate. 

“Some people who live and function here in this town didn’t even know I was over there,” Welch said.

Getting used to the new spot has had its own kind of challenges. But Welch compares it to a new house, where people have to take some time to arrange everything just right.

“I think we can function better…but it’s like a new home. You have a spot for a new thing but maybe it isn’t the best spot. So you just have to live it out,” Welch said. 

That being said, if Exeter Coffee Company is a home, then her customers are her family. Welch set out to open her coffee shop over two years ago with nothing but Exeter in mind. After losing the beloved Cappella Coffee House, now the Rock Yard Tavern, in 2016, Exeter was missing a place for community to thrive. 

“For me, it’s not about us at all because people have to believe they are a part of it,” Welch said in an interview with The Sun-Gazette in 2017. 

Her two years as a coffee shop owner have proven that her community-centered caffeination station could work as a business. But that isn’t to say that she is in it for the dollars and cents. 

“It’s about the community. That what it’s always been about,” Welch said. “I always say that our business is a people business and coffee is just the medium.”

Marked as “E Street Square,” the mason modern building was under renovation off and on for several years. There were questions over when it would ever be done. But last year, tenants started to commit to spaces. If not just for nostalgic purposes.

“I love the history of this building, it’s so old but also new,” Welch said.

Welch’s design is not unlike her description of the building itself. From wall to wall, Welch has left her retro-modern touch. The entire decor has a mid-century modern feel, from the rugs to the couches, and from the chairs to the back splash. 

Overall, it is not a bad first two years for a start up business in a town just above 11,000 people.

Before diving into the coffee game, Welch was sharpening her customer service skills at perhaps an unlikely place, school. Welch shifted modes from family mom to school mom, as she calls it. She did campus security for Wilson Middle School for a while before getting the front desk job at Exeter High School. But Welch admitted that it just wasn’t enough.

Then, over summer, she started talking to her husband Jason, a teacher at Exeter High School about “what this town really needs.” A phrase Welch admits she uses a lot, and one day that phrase ended with “a coffee shop.” She said that Jason pushed her to put her ideas into action. Not long after that she started looking for places in town and before she knew it, people were pouring through the door.

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