Coffee shop brings ‘big city feel to small town’

Contributed by Kellie Harlan

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Assistant News Editor 

Murray natives and business owners Mike and Kellie Harlan are beginning a new adventure this fall: the making of the perfect cup of coffee.

“Who are we trying to target? All coffee lovers,” Kellie said. “The ones who aren’t, when they drink our coffee, we want to make them coffee lovers.”

Shaffer Coffee Co., located on 4th Street, will have an industrial, rustic vibe, which Kellie said will be completely different than anything in Murray. Mike said they’re trying to provide a good atmosphere where people can hang out, relax and enjoy the moment and bring the community together.

“I want to bring the big city look to small town Murray,” Kellie said.

To stand out from the other coffee shops in town, they said their quality coffee will make all the difference. After visiting shops like Crema in Nashville, Mike said he noticed their focus on creating high-quality coffee, and that is the same mindset he hopes to have for Shaffer Coffee Co.

“We were curious as to why their coffee tasted better, and it sparked our interest,” Kellie said.

For a gift one year, their daughter Lauren Burzynski sent Mike to a class at Crema about how to make the perfect cup of coffee.

“We took that class and learned a lot about coffee,” he said. “We became extremely interested in making a consistently good cup of coffee at home.”

Burzynski said her dad came back home a changed man.

“Now he makes every cup of coffee at home with the same scientific methods he learned that afternoon,”  Burzynski said. “So I like to think that this coffee shop is really only happening because of that fateful birthday gift.”

Burzynski said they are a family of coffee geeks, paying attention to the actual mathematical equation to get the right cup of coffee, including time, weight and a few other key components.  

Kellie said their friends joke that ‘If you go to Mike Harlan’s house, you get the perfect cup of coffee.’

It’s not only about the coffee itself. For Mike, it’s about the journey of who grows, harvests and roasts the coffee, as well how Shaffer employees handle the coffee – all the way to a customer’s cup.

“If you wanted to know the story of the coffee you’re drinking, we’ll be about to provide that for you,” Mike said.

Down the road, Kellie said they will possibly partner with a coffee farm in Nicaragua, which they discovered through their church’s mission work there.

For late-night coffee and tea drinkers, Shaffer Coffee Co. will be open for extended hours. Mike said after the coffee shop is up and running, they will try later hours for people who would want to study late or grab coffee after dinner on the weekend.

“One of the things that frustrates me about a lot of coffee shops is they close early,” Mike said. “We will eventually stay open later.”

Mike and Kellie have owned Harlan Automotive since 1998. They decided to renovate a shopping center located at 404 4th Street in Murray, which they named Shaffer Square, after one of Kellie’s relatives.

The coffee shop is a family effort to an extent, with their daughters helping with the vision of the space. Kellie said their sons-in-law have been involved with the remodeling process.

Burzynski said her involvement has been helping Kellie choose some of the finishes, like paint color and light fixtures. She also plans to help with social media and the progress of the coffee shop.

Although nothing is set in stone, Kellie said they would like to open up around Thanksgiving weekend. Interested community members can follow Shaffer Coffee Co.’s story on both Facebook and Instagram

“We’re excited,” Kellie said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good response from the community so far.”