Has Bowling Green’s coffee shop cup runneth over?
Don Sherman and his family hope not.
Even as Bowling Green has seen a number of homegrown and chain coffee shops open in the past few years, Sherman is jumping into that business with a brand that he thinks will set him apart in a crowded field.
Sherman is owner/operator in Bowling Green of Just Love Coffee Café, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based chain that is just beginning to expand its franchise into Kentucky.
He is setting up shop at 1640 Scottsville Road, sandwiched between Griff’s Deli and Bowling Green Athletic Club.
The former home of the Popworks artisan popsicle store is being transformed into a coffee shop and restaurant brand that Sherman, his wife and son were enamored with when they visited the Just Love Coffee in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
“My son told me to go there, and my wife and I loved it,” Sherman said.
Sherman, a recent retiree from the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant, liked the coffee-and-waffle-based restaurant so much that he checked into opening a franchise.
“I was going to retire from GM, and my doctor told me not to slow down,” Sherman said. “I needed to do something.”
Rather than find a hobby, the 64-year-old Sherman threw himself into opening Just Love Coffee with the energy of a hipster hyped on caffeine.
Working with the shopping center’s landlord, local orthopedic doctor Lynn Olson, Sherman has expanded toward BAC and nearly doubled the square footage occupied by Popworks. He said last week that he hoped to have the business open in three weeks, with a seating capacity of 50 inside and another 30 outside.
“I’m looking forward to opening it,” Sherman said. “I don’t know what I’d be doing with myself if we weren’t opening this place.”
He wouldn’t be slowing down, his family members agree.
“He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met in my life,” Don Sherman III said of his father. “He never relaxes. He’s always going 100 mph. I’m glad he’s like that.”
A niece who has been involved in promoting Just Love Coffee on social media said she wasn’t surprised to see the Shermans take on this new challenge.
“I knew they weren’t going to fully retire just yet,” Dionna Zorici said in a text message. “I don’t think my uncle could ever fully retire. He loves staying busy and staying involved with the community.”
Being involved in the community is important to the elder Sherman, whose job with GM brought him here in 2005.
“I’ve lived in larger areas in New York and Michigan,” he said, “but I think Bowling Green is the best-kept secret in the world. The community is great.”
Now Sherman – along with his wife Sophia, sons Don and Dylan and his niece – will be giving back to that community through Just Love Coffee.
“During our training, we’ll make all the items on the menu and take the food to fire departments and first responders, people who need a free lunch,” Sophia Sherman said.
That type of giving ties in with the corporate philosophy of Just Love Coffee.
Founders Rob and Emily Webb have from the beginning donated a portion of the company’s profits to help families meet the costs incurred in adopting children. They have expanded that to include fundraisers for various nonprofit organizations that simply want to “just love.”
That philanthropy isn’t all that sets Just Love Coffee apart, according to one of its key local employees.
The new Bowling Green eatery, one of 32 Just Love Coffee locations in the country, will use fresh-roasted beans and will feature a menu heavy on unique waffle-based food items.
“Our waffles will be the star of the show,” said Chanse Wettstein, who will be a manager at the new store. “It will be different from what you find at other coffee shops.”
The Just Love Coffee menu includes traditional sweet waffles topped with fruit, powdered sugar and whipped cream; but it also includes so-called “womelettes” that are waffles with such items as eggs, meat, peppers and cheese baked in.
“We’re not limited to sweet waffles,” Wettstein said. “We’re planning to partner with Rian’s Fatted Calf and other local businesses to come up with new items.”
When all employees are onboard and trained, Don Sherman said, the restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily.
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.