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Ben Rodgers, Forum Communications, Published September 08 2012

Cups of joe still flow in Edgeley

EDGELEY, N.D. – When the Edgeley Coffee Shop closed its doors to the public at the end of June, it left a void in this rural farming community.

It only took a week before that void was filled. Gene Hanson and his wife, Darlene, who own an empty building across the street, decided to serve up free coffee.

On any typical day now between 20 and 40 people pack the former storefront for coffee and camaraderie.

“The economy is getting the best of everybody,” Gene Hanson said. “Just because we lost a business on Main Street doesn’t mean we’re giving up.”

Parking on Main Street on Thursday was a hot commodity with 30 people inside the new coffee shop getting coffee and some edibles.

The visitors to the coffee shop – about 95 percent of whom are senior citizens – have also started bringing in baked goods, either store-bought or homemade.

Inside the makeshift coffee shop, 90-year-old Bud Kipp was taking his turn as the coffee server, making the rounds and topping off the cups of Folgers.

“We take turns. The men over here generally take turns and serve or help serve strangers,” Kipp said, pointing to the table behind him.

Retired and without a coffee shop, Kipp said he plans to keep serving here until a new place opens.

“As long as this place is open and I’m able, I’ll be here, that’s for sure,” he said. “You don’t just sit at home or you’ll rot.”

A few doors down from the makeshift coffee shop is the Edgeley Food Center. Roger Larson, owner and manager, has seen increased sales in baked goods, mostly going to the temporary coffee shop. But he would still like to see a café open again.

Pam Schrader used to run the Edgeley Coffee Shop, but the work got too demanding, and she wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren.

She still runs a catering business out of the closed diner, but it is for sale.

DeLome Pauling was a regular at Schrader’s restaurant for 26 years. She has since moved across the street to the makeshift coffee shop and has been there since the first day it opened in July.

“I could drink coffee at home, but it tastes better here,” Pauling said, while sitting at a table with five friends. “… It’s been really good, and I look forward to it every morning.”

Pauling has brought baked cookies; other treats brought in by people include cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, cereal, banana bread, cupcakes and, of course, cans of coffee. The place averages about 100 cups a day.

“They need a place with full meals,” she said. “I’m thinking it’s a temporary thing, but until we get something else …”

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Ben Rodgers writes for The Jamestown Sun