— Story —
Owner/Customer Relations Manager
We met for the first time in a coffee shop. We connected that day, halfway between the city of Columbus, Ohio, and the mountains of southern West Virginia. After that encounter, our individual paths blended into a common exploration along life’s highway. Our first date evolved, not just into a love for each other, but also into a love for what we poured into our cups.
We continued to keep company from afar for many months. Those miles apart led us on a quest through different cities and quiet corners in a variety of coffee shops. With each meeting, we sought out the best coffee we could find. Like the road we often traveled, we drank it black, savored the notes, and found meaning in each sip. Our route was a long and winding one. Yet, during this time, two constants endured: the more moments we spent together and the more coffee we drank, the more enamored we became—with each other, with the steam and the serenity, the simplicity and the purity, and the burst of excitement and flavor that warmed our hearts and palates.
That lengthy highway we had roamed separately, at last, led us to southwest Virginia, where our relationship cultivated into a marriage—both to each other and to the dedication of roasting to the highest quality. We still pursue the road less traveled each day through the origins of our coffee—finding joy and beauty in each other’s presence and in every cup.
In the summer of 2017, we stopped for lunch at The Draper Mercantile’s Blue Door Cafe. Motivated by the idea that local should always support local, we traveled that day to Pulaski County to introduce ourselves and our Open Road Roastery coffee to like-minded businesses. After we were seated, we noticed Chef T and Debbie Gardner, owner of The Mercantile, chatting at a nearby table. Jen passed along business cards and regards. They were both very inquisitive—and extremely busy—so we only had five minutes to win them over. An hour and a half later, the conversation was still going strong!
After it was discussed that Chad was also a chef, it was proposed that Chad should join the Merc kitchen. In short time, he stepped into the role full time so that Chef T could continue to spread her creativity and culinary gifts beyond the reach of The Merc.
In passing conversation, The Mercantile’s owner, Debbie, expressed that her initial vision had included a coffee shop within The Village. We were thrilled at such a notion! We always imagined our coffee paired with delicious, Appalachian-inspired comfort food. The idea bloomed further, and Open Road Roastery’s Coffee and Biscuits at The Draper Mercantile was inspired. Soon thereafter, every Saturday morning, we woke up The Village with freshly-roasted, hot coffee and mouth-watering biscuits.
After an amazingly warm and positive response from patrons like you, owners Debbie and Bill extended an invitation to embrace a more permanent home within The Village. How could we refuse such an opportunity to expand our coffee and culinary vision? As breakfast had once been revered by locals and travelers alike, we all agreed that breakfast needed to return to The Merc on a full-time basis. With an already successful lunch following firmly in place, it was established that breakfast plus lunch service would be the direction for the restaurant. And, naturally, both should be offered all day.
Who knew when we planned to sell The Merc coffee that so much more lay just around the bend? Friendships, moments beautifully crafted, like-mindedness—it truly does take a Village. Today, we proudly present to you The Village’s latest addition—BRUNCH at The Merc. We invite you to experience classic, inspired culinary delights paired with Open Road Roastery’s freshly-roasted coffee in a gathering place where you become a part of The Merc family. The table is set and your mug is full. Come in and make yourself at home.
Chad and Jen Jones