How’d The Meeting Place on Market Start?

1923 picture of our building
1923 picture of our building

It Began In 8th Grade Math Class

It seems the entrepreneurial spirit runs in our family’s blood. It definitely runs in mine. My first business idea was actually a detective agency patterned after Nancy Drew. However, not many of my neighbors signed up for the services of an 8 year old detective. Once I grew a little more older and wiser my visions became more realistic, and by 8th grade most of my math papers were decorated with doodles of the logo of my future 50s type soda fountain cafe named Shakes.

Enter Coffee

While in college I discovered gourmet coffee via Gloria Jean’s. Wow, I didn’t know such heavenly brew existed! I had avoided coffee until then. I tried to open a coffee shop in my college town, but there wasn’t much capital available for a just graduated, broke college student. But 7 years later I had my chance!

Lost in Middle America

Lima, Ohio, hometown of The Meeting Place on Market, and our own KaffeeScape coffee brand, has the unfortunate distinction of being the icon for the rust belt, including its feature in a PBS special “Lost in Middle America”, and now it’s depiction on the Fox TV show, glee. My husband and I moved back to Lima early in our marriage as we wanted to be near family. However, we missed the cultural diversity and great coffee of the big city. Lima had had some coffee shops, but none lasted more than a few years. That burning desire I seemed to be born with to risk all in an entrepreneurial venture wouldn’t go away, so after 5 years of a quiet existance, I started to write a business plan for the be-all, end-all coffee house and cafe.

Prayer, Family and a Great Landlord

My dad also has that spirit, and he signed on to be part of the crazy idea. We spent two years putting a plan together, researching suppliers and locations, and doing lots of praying. During that time, two of my close friends and a mentor, prayed specifically and regularly with me for the new business. When we finally found our location, right in the middle of downtown of Lima, we felt it was handed to us by God. Our new landlord believed in our vision and was willing to invest a lot of money on just our signature in making the building great. My mom and husband jumped on board…

And now…

We opened in May of 2003, and having been growing ever since. The small idea has turned into a huge venture because of the efforts of everyone involved! Ruth Ann, Greg, Kevin and so many others added unmeasurable depth to the business with their creativity and skill. Not only are we passionate about providing our customers with the best cup of coffee they’ve ever tasted (which we hear a lot!), but we love to provide the atmosphere and knowledge that makes coffee drinking truly great. Coffee is about much more than some beans and hot water. It’s about growers who care about their crop and their people, it’s about being fanatical in the roasting details, it’s about learning how to brew in 20 different ways, it’s about the history and traditions that make it a true social experience, it’s about the aroma, and the flavor, and the buzz. Most of all, it’s about people. Total strangers can come together around coffee. People can relax and be themselves with a hot cup of java in their hands. Coffee can create a bond when no other bond exists.

To drink is human, to drink coffee is divine…

– Jennifer Brogee

Our Building Now (photo by Stephanie Turner)
Our Building Now (photo by Stephanie Turner)

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