Posted: Oct. 27, 2017 12:01 am
HOPATCONG — For Sean Williams and Jill Chasse, date night was going well. The two finished an early dinner and set out around Hopatcong to grab a cappuccino and enjoy a quiet conversation.
Outside of the usual coffee chains, though, it seemed there weren’t many options. Surprised, they turned their initial disappointment into an opportunity.
Now, after about a year of planning, they say they are ready to welcome the community to their new cafe, located in the heart of Hopatcong’s redevelopment zone on River Styx Road.
As the first new business in the street-level retail space of the Brookland at LakePointe, the Solstice Cafe and Wellness Center will serve as a community space, performance venue, yoga studio and, of course, coffee shop.
“We’re incredibly excited,” said Williams, a former Starbucks manager with 25 years of experience in the industry. “Both of us have always dreamed of owning our own business, and now here we are.”
The cafe will host a Halloween-themed grand opening celebration on Saturday complete with costume contests, face painting and games for kids, and plenty of good strong coffee and hot beverages for the adults.
Mayor Michael Francis said that the opening of the cafe marks the beginning of downtown Hopatcong’s revitalization.
“I think it shows that not only are we bringing new businesses in, but we’re bringing in good people,” he said. “When you have one of the two in place, the other will follow. I think this cafe is ultimately going to be a wonderful community space, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with it.”
Chasse, a doctor of public health and perinatal epidemiologist, said that the Solstice Cafe plans to offer wellness seminars, mental health workshops and cognitive childhood development programs.
“We’re still just starting out, so we don’t want to take on too much at once,” Chasse said. “Once we get the hang of the coffee shop business, then we will be able to branch out and create a public space that addresses a lot of different needs at once.”
The cafe will also serve as a performance space and gallery for local musicians and artists.
For now, Williams said, the cafe will focus on creating the best coffee shop atmosphere that it can.
The menu includes staple beverages like espressos, cappuccinos, lattes and teas, as well as some hand-crafted specialty items named for local landmarks.
“We named some of our signature drinks in honor of the community,” Williams said, pointing out the River Styx Raspberry Latte and the Durban Delight macchiato. “The mayor and Town Council have gone out of their way to help us get started, and to me, that speaks really highly of the area. I think we’re off to a good start.”
The cafe currently offers a number of pastries and snacks to accompany its drinks. Down the line, Williams said, the plan is to introduce homemade soups and paninis.
Chasse said that ever since a recent soft opening at the cafe, business has been good.
“I think people are starting to know that we’re here, and that’s the first step,” she said. “I think having the grand opening will be really good for us.”
Francis said that he plans to attend the event on Saturday to officially welcome the Solstice Cafe and Wellness Center to the borough.
“We’ve been waiting a long time to see some positive changes really come to fruition in the redevelopment zone, and this is the first step,” he said. “I’m very happy that our first new business is one that means to bring the community closer together. Good things are happening over here, that’s for sure.”
The Solstice Cafe is located at 446a River Styx Road.
The grand opening celebration will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28.
For more information, including a full menu and a schedule of upcoming workshops and seminars, visit www.solsticecafehopatcong.com.
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