Anne Baker, co-owner of Stellar Coffee Co., demonstrates how to make a pour-over pot of coffee Thursday. “It’s one of the best cups of coffee you can get,” Baker said. She is renovating the old JC Penney building at 315 N. Main St., where her shop will open by January. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)
Rich, deep waves of perfectly roasted Guatemalan la Flor coffee filled the air inside Stellar Coffee Co. Thursday. Anne Baker stood behind the counter demonstrating how a perfect “pour-over” pot of coffee was made.
“It’s one of the best cups of coffee you can get,” Baker said.
She explained that she measures the water and beans exactly and grinds the beans specifically for each pot.
The beans are selected from a single farm and roasted to specific parameters by a Dallas-based micro-roaster. The beans she ground that day had been roasted a week ago, making them prime for brewing.
“All of the coffee is top notch,” Baker explained. “This is the perfect time to drink it.”
Baker’s enthusiasm for producing the perfect cup is only matched by her passion for renovating the old JC Penney building at 315 N. Main St., where her shop will open by January.
The rich history of the building, where generations of Roswell residents shopped from 1916 to 1978, has inspired Baker and her husband, Dan, to restore much of the interior to its original glory.
From what Baker could discover using old photographs, the building stood at its location in 1904, during a massive flood. The photo depicted the site as possibly a hotel.
“There was a river on Main Street,” Baker said of the scene in the photo.
When the Bakers purchased the building after moving to Roswell from Stevensville, Texas, two years ago, it was a former medical clinic. Since then, they have slowly uncovered secrets behind its walls and ceiling tiles.
“We had to take out a lot of walls and it was very clinical. We had to warm it up a bit,” Baker said.
The attic was full of old JC Penney receipts from 1954, mannequins and some men’s underwear packages.
But beyond the drop-down ceiling, they discovered a tin-tiled ceiling. Working with Jack Colby, of Jack of All, they scraped off the tin tiles and restored the ceiling in the front part of the store.
“We preserved all of that,” Baker said.
The planks of plywood on the floor cover wood flooring that wait to be refinished.
When all is done, Baker hopes to open the doors from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. She will serve her “perfectly poured cups of coffee” to customers who can sit at the counter or at seats by the Main Street window.
She also will serve espresso coffees, smoothies, gluten-free products, pastries, decorative cupcakes, simple breakfasts and lunch menus.
The atmosphere will become the “vortex of positive” she hopes to create.
“Hopefully (locals) will like what I’ve done,” Baker said.
The store will be available after hours for special meetings or events, she said.
The name “Stellar” was chosen to honor the UFO theme for people who come to town and think of Roswell in connection to aliens, but it also can relate to “excellence,” as in an excellent cup of coffee, Baker said.
Before deciding to open a coffee shop, Baker helped get businesses started as an accountant in economic development banking. Her husband works at Leprino.
Baker also is a member of MainStreet Roswell, she is interested in helping develop an arts district, is an active member with Assumption Catholic Church’s young adult group, she loves to play golf, run and do yoga.
She and her husband lost their oldest son when he was killed in a motorcycle accident seven years ago. They started a trucking business and had a good first year, Baker said. But when the economy started to fail, so did their business.
“All of a sudden, the bottom fell out. Finally, we gave up,” she said. “Then, Dan got a wonderful job at Leprino. We thought, this was the right time. When I found this building I knew it was the right place. It’s just a wonderful place to be right now.”
She began to tear up when remembering her son. But then she said, she had no regrets. He lived a good life.
“Even from beyond, he motivates us to do well,” Baker said. “He would take no excuses to give up,” Baker said with a smile, wiping away a tear.
Baker likes to visit with people and she loves coffee.
“I love people and I love making people happy,” Baker said. “I know I can do it.”