ALMONT — Anyone passing through downtown Almont Saturday morning, Sept. 7, could not help but notice the long lines waiting to enter the village’s newest business at 102 S. Main. St.
All the activity coincided with the official opening of “Sippin’ in the Mitten,” a brand-new coffee shop/cafe owned and operated by local entrepreneur Jaime Albers.
Conveniently situated at the southwest corner of Main and West St. Clair streets, “Sippin in the Mitten” should appeal to early risers seeking a caffeine infused pick-me-up before starting their work days.
Albers said the business will be open from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays.
The cafe features indoor seating, unique decor and art, wheelchair access, free Wi-Fi, takeout service, and every imaginable coffee, tea and latte option, along with light breakfast and baked goods.
To appeal to customers of varied ages and interests, the business will host programs designed for children, youths and adults; including book club and trivia nights, kids’ board games, math and Spanish language tutoring, knitting/crochet classes, and Round Robin Painting nights.
The first Round Robin Painting night is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28, from 5-7 p.m. Tickets are $25 apiece and available now through Saturday, Sept. 14.
While she had been optimistic that “Sippin’ in the Mitten” would appeal to a large customer base, Albers was nevertheless surprised by the strong turnout on opening day.
“The amount of community supporting us— including our fellow local business owners—has been amazing,” said Albers. “We look forward to serving this community, and we offer our thanks to everyone for coming out to our opening.”
Albers expressed special appreciation to Dan Walker, who purchased the long-vacant downtown building in March from the estate of the late Marty Clauw.
Since then, Walker has invested considerable time and capital in rehabilitating, upgrading and preparing the building for Albers’ occupancy.
Walker recently moved his real estate business, Aurora Realty, from Romeo into the upper level at 102 S. Main St.
Among those standing in line early Saturday was Almont DDA Director Kim Schall, who was impressed with the transformation achieved through the Albers/Walker collaboration.
“They’ve been able to keep the original ceiling and floors, which is really nice,” said Schall. “But they’ve added some personal touches with the art and lighting that makes the space unique.
“I think this business is going to be great for our downtown,” she continued. “I feel the investment they have made in the community is immeasurable.”
Walker was particularly pleased by the community’s support for “Sippin’ in the Mitten.”
“To see what Jaime has done with that space is remarkable,” said Walker. “I’m so happy for Jaime and also for our town. I’m hoping this business will be a springboard for continued growth and investment in the Almont community,” he said.
A U.S. Army veteran, Albers and her husband, Matt, moved to Almont in 2012.
“My dream has always been to open a cafe or coffee shop in a small town,” she said. “With Dan Walker’s help and the support of our community, I now have that opportunity.”
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.