Breaking with chains: One-of-a-kind Coffee Bar at Newfane opening soon

Benjamin Joe, Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, N.Y.
·3 min read

Apr. 8—NEWFANE — Leann and Jamie Dannemiller are a couple who want to share everything with each other and their community. Since they met, it's been a whirlwind of activity.

After three months of dating, they knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together and married. After that, they decided to open their own business and spend all those moments in one another's presence. Then they saw the building on Main Street and, just like that, they were ready to move into the double-decker, live on the top floor and work on the bottom floor.

That's the origin story for the Coffee Bar at Newfane.

And it's not over yet.

The sign in front of the Coffee Bar is up, but inside are ladders, tools and measuring equipment while the Dannemillers do renovations, build tabletops and put the kitchen into tip-top shape.

"Unofficially we're looking at 10 to 12 days (to open), but it seems every time I put a date on it, because it's an old building, we run into something," Leann said earlier this week.

The Dannemillers demand satisfaction for each guest whether it's a cup of coffee, a breakfast sandwich or a sirloin steak that they're in the mood for. Jamie is an executive chef and will use locally sourced foods to tantalize the taste buds of anyone who stops in. If the coffee seems "off," they'll fix it and be ready to make it right again on any return visit. The focus of their business is to boost the service that the average coffee drinker receives.

"As soon as we decided on this location we just started posting stuff on Facebook, on social media, we have 1,600 likes and we're not even an open business," Leann said. "People are at the door saying, 'We can't wait for good coffee!' or 'We can't wait for good service!'"

Why a coffee house and why now? The Dannemillers say it all started with community.

"I feel like since Covid, people are dying for community, people are dying to invest in their community and not the big shops anymore. They would rather see someone in their community with their business succeed, whatever that business may be," Leann said. "The realtor, Bill's Diner, the pizza shop, the music shop. They just want the little guy to win now and I think that's changed since Covid."

The Coffee Bar will also be an employer. Its newly recruited workforce, which numbers about 35, is receiving training at the Olcott fire hall until the kitchen is ready.

Leann gives a shout-out to everyone who interviewed for positions.

"We hired staff locally, did interviews in January, and I had posted on Facebook, 'Hey Newfane, you have to be proud of all your young people because they showed up and killed the interviews!'," she said.

A business newly getting off the ground should have a large staff, Leann added.

"I would rather have someone stand around, knowing I could have them at any minute to come outside and talk to a customer, or grab a pastry, or jump in somewhere, than not have the extra people," she said. "It's all about our guests."