A new coffeeshop is coming to downtown New Albany in the former location of AC’s Coffee, which closed at the end of September.
The new coffeeshop will be called Brew Albany and will be owned and operated by Caleb "Mabel" Smith and his wife, Imani, of Potts Camp.
Mabel’s parents, Barry and Robin Smith, will be silent partners in the business.
“We’re very happy about it,” said Mabel when asked how they are feeling about opening the new coffeeshop. “I think it’s going to be awesome.”
A lot is being invested into the coffeeshop to make it the “best it can be,” he added.
“We know the quality is going to be awesome,” Mabel said.
He would like for the coffeeshop to be open by Dec. 1. The coffeeshop is situated along the trailhead of the Tanglefoot Trail, and Mabel said, “I’ve always loved this location.”
In fact, he said he’s been to Japan, the Philippines, New York and Chicago and the trailhead is one of his top three places in the world. The location has a lot of potential, he noted.
“It’s by far my favorite place in New Albany,” said Mabel, who also works for HomeCare Hospice.
He added that he loves New Albany, especially the downtown, saying, “I’m very excited about getting to be here . . .”
Other than the location, Mabel is also excited about bringing some excellent coffee to New Albany.
“I’ve always been obsessed with really good coffee,” he said. “To me, nothing’s better than a really good cup of coffee.”
He’s driven to Memphis, Tupelo and Oxford for good coffee. He said he jumped on the opportunity to give the people of New Albany the coffee they deserve. The owner of Tupelo River Coffee will be roasting the coffee beans for Brew Albany.
Espresso and non-espresso will be offered at Brew Albany, which will serve lattes, cappuccinos, shots of espresso, hot and cold-brew coffee and iced coffee.
In addition, Brew Albany will have affogato, which is Italian gourmet ice cream with espresso poured over it.
While Brew Albany will have a few desserts and pastries, the emphasis will be on providing great coffee. However, there will be options, such as hot chocolate, for people who don’t drink coffee. Golden milk, which is a plant-based milk, will also be served, and gourmet teas will eventually be offered.
Mabel, who drinks about three to five cups of coffee a day, is also the co-owner of a shirt company in Hickory Flat called Smith and Steele. He plans for the coffeeshop to sell some T-shirts to the cyclists who use the Tanglefoot Trail. Other items for cyclists, such as water and granola bars, may also be sold.
Mabel grew up in Potts Camp but says he basically feels as though he is from New Albany. He said people who live in Potts Camp do all their business in New Albany.
Mabel is also the K-12 student pastor at West Ripley Baptist Church and is a senior at Blue Mountain College. His wife is a junior at Blue Mountain studying biology with plans to become a doctor.
Almost everything inside the coffeeshop is being remodeled to get ready for Brew Albany. They built their own tables, and they are building a new service counter as well. The decorations inside the coffeeshop will be new, the inside has been repainted and all new equipment has been added.
While the coffeeshop may not open until Dec. 1, it is already getting involved in the community. It will hand out free hot chocolate and black coffee during the downtown open house event on Sunday.
Once the coffeeshop is open, the plan is for it to host open mic nights, poetry readings and videogame tournaments. A small group Bible study wants to use the building on Tuesday nights. There will also be free Wi-Fi and work spaces for people.
The hours for the coffeeshop will be Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Sunday it may be open from 2 to 6 p.m.
Mabel said the business is partly modeled after his favorite quote from Martin Luther, which says, “The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes but by making good shoes because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”
“We’re trying to make sure everything is as great as it can be,” Mabel said.