Something’s different about the Three Mountain Café. Regular customers of this Waitsfield coffee shop may have noticed the decluttered interior, the fresh wood flooring, the new logo and the shop’s new slogan: “Coffee, Eats and Good Cheer.”
“When I was designing the logo, I really wanted it to emulate sunshine and happiness and cheer,” said Maggie Carr, 26-year-old owner of the Three Mountain Cafe. “We’re just trying to give everyone a smile and a nice experience. We’ve been here as a coffee shop for over 40 years. It’s about coffee, community and cheer.”
Carr, who used to be the general manager of the café, bought it from former owners Julie and Paul Barns on December 1, 2020. Since then, the café has undergone a substantive renovation.
“Julie and Paul took their antiques with them,” said Carr, referring to the collection of antiques that used to fill the shop. “The life was sucked out of it when the antiques left. We needed to jazz the place up.”
Jazzing the place up involved doing more than just renovating the interior and rebranding, however. Since Carr has taken over, she has revamped the café’s social media presence, launched a new website, installed a new espresso machine, incorporated more local coffee roasters into the coffee selection and made strides in using the shop to support local artists.
“We are trying to fill the space with the work of lots of young local artists,” said Carr. Three Mountain Cafe has always supported local artists, but Carr wants to offer more. “We have lots of original work, but now we’re focusing more on offering the prints and stickers, things that are hyper-affordable, that aren’t originals in the hundreds of dollars.”
As for supporting local coffee roasters, Three Mountain Cafe just partnered with KS Coffee, an ethically-sourced coffee roaster based in Fayston. “Karen is the ultimate coffee genius,” said Carr about Karen Sauther, founder of KS coffee. From now on, when one orders an espresso drink at Three Mountain Cafe, it will come from KS Coffee.
“We are her first wholesale account,” said Carr. “It’s exciting! We’re local women-run businesses supporting each other.”
Currently, Carr is working on revamping the cafe’s menu. In the near future, Carr says the café will offer more sandwich specials, more salad options, more in-house soups and even a selection of grain bowls. “Our bagel offerings will be the same,” added Carr.
Carr has even considered changing the name of the shop. “I haven’t decided yet. I’m really going back and forth because, what’s the value of changing the name?” said Carr. “We don’t want to disappoint people. But change is good.”
One of Carr’s biggest moments as a new business owner was picking out a new espresso machine for the shop. “It’s a huge deal because an espresso machine is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment that you invest in,” said Carr.
Despite the shop’s flashy new machine, redone interior, expanded menu options and new brand, Carr wants to assure people that they will always be able to get the staple items they have known and loved for years.
For instance, Vermont Artisan Coffee’s Turkish roast coffee will always be available as a go-to option. “You know the slogan, America Runs on Duncan? Well I feel like The Valley runs on Turkish coffee from Artisan,” said Carr. “I want to reiterate to customers that we’re still going to have their back with things we know they love.”