People lounge, chat, work and study on assorted furniture from various decades. Baristas greet customers, often by name, as they walk in Metro Coffee Company’s door while they grind espresso beans, froth milk and pour coffee and other beverages at the counter.
The coffee shop is a community gathering place and a hangout for friends, book clubs, writing groups, knitters, church groups, student organizations and others. Some evenings, a poetry slam or music performance takes over the small stage in the back.
New owners bought Metro Coffee Company from its longtime owners last month, and they don’t plan to change those things. Instead, they intend to enhance them and make some additions, new owner and manager Sean Peverley said. The four new owners have spent the last several days learning to make the beverages from the menu, which they plan to keep the same. They’ve arranged a front window to display their line of Wyoming pride t-shirts.
Peverley bought Metro on Sept. 26 with his friends Krisinda Wilcox, Lexi Anderson and Zach Taylor.
The downtown coffee shop is a central hub in the community, and the nearby David Street Station and growing events in the neighborhood make it an exciting time for business, Peverley said.
“We’re actually going to have a presence in that community; we have an opportunity to support different groups and aspects of the growth of the community,” he said. “This whole downtown action is exciting to me on a bunch of different levels. And now that I get to be a part of it in a way that I can influence, I think that is probably the most exciting thing for me.”
Familiar atmosphere with new ideas
John Norgaard and his stepson Nelson Giese owned the coffee shop for 13 years with their wives before selling to the new owners. Norgaard is ready to retire, and the new group is the best fit to take over the 15-year-old business, Giese said. The new and former owners at Metro have been friends for about a decade.
“We thought that these two had a lot of good ideas, and had a fresh look at things they can do in here,” Giese said.
Those ideas include adding two small displays for the Myoming t-shirt company that Giese, Peverley and Wilcox started in May. They also may add items from companies including Surf Wyoming, Go Slow Wyo and Steamboat & Co., Peverley said.
But they don’t want to alter much about the look of Metro. They’ve been customers for years because of the comfortable, eclectic atmosphere, Wilcox said.
“The ambience and environment that Metro has, we don’t want to change that,” Wilcox said.
In the front, they’re adding two long benches against the north wall with a line of smaller tables and chairs, so that people there by themselves won’t have to sit at a four-seat table, they said.
They plan to keep the eclectic mix of furniture in the back. The arrangement works well as a comfortable space, and people can easily see the gallery featuring different local artists each month, Peverley said.
Another one of their ideas is to promote the art and events more on social media, Peverley said. He’s also interested in more entertainment, including singer/songwriter nights and open mic sessions.
“There’s a lot of music going on around town, but the venues are pretty limited, especially for underage people,” Peverley added. “So we’re going to start trying to support a little bit of that environment.”
Wyoming and local pride
The new Metro owners bring a variety of experience and pride in their native state.
Peverley grew up in Green River and is a singer/songwriter and a rhythm guitarist for alt-western band The Last Coyote. He also enjoys hunting, the Wyoming outdoors and his two teenage kids. He works as a lab manager at Mountain View Regional Hospital.
The other three owners are siblings who hail from Kaycee and a long line of coffee drinkers. Wilcox is a nurse at Mountain View Regional Hospital, where she manages the operating room. She and her sister love horses and own racing horses through a business called 307 Derby Dames. Her two kids also keep her busy, but she’s not one to sit still, she said. Peverley even wrote a song about her endless energy and activity, called “Hurricane.”
Anderson is a court reporter who enjoys her young son as well as hobbies including horses, rodeo and cooking. She also loves coffee, so Metro is perfect for her, she said. Taylor still lives in Kaycee, where he runs his business, Taylor Trucking, and also stays busy with his family.
Peverley was thinking about opening some kind of business when the idea of him taking over Metro came up in a conversation with Giese, almost jokingly, he said. But it started to make sense, since it’s a business that’s already established and even fit with the t-shirt venture.
“It just kept on going, and next thing I knew it wasn’t really a joke anymore,” Peverley said. “It just took off.”