Having nearly finished a $300,000 facelift of Suntree Plaza, owners Mary and Mike Renfro are focusing on creating a new kind of coffee shop, similar to a "Cheers" in friendliness and a center bar layout, to also include micro office workspaces.
The Renfros purchased the plaza last October and have since undertaken major renovations, including a new security system, removing overgrown landscape that had hidden the businesses, new signage and a brighter paint job.
"It looked like it was stuck in time so we added different textures to the front siding, adding stucco to make it a more unified look. We added new lighting because we wanted to enhance the physical appearance at night,’’ Mike Renfro said.
One major expense involved reducing the number of columns running along the front of the property, each of which required special reinforcement to structurally be able to carry the weight, he said. The cost was worth it to open up the covered walkway to more light and make the plaza look more modern, he said.
The 2,300 square foot space for the unique yet-to-be-named coffee shop with patio seating, located at 6977 N. Wickham Road, is the northernmost unit in the four-building, 14,000 square foot plaza located on two acres. The main anchor at the plaza is Niki’s Restaurant at 6947 N. Wickham Road, which like other current tenants will remain unchanged.
The coffee shop unit was designed, as all the units in the plaza, with a single span across the ceiling tying into the exterior walls. There are no support columns in the center to break up the look and take up valuable space.
The four micro offices along the exterior walls, each big enough for a desk and other work space, will share a small conference or community room and restrooms. Glass doors will enable office space renters to see inside the coffee shop, but still have it quiet enough to work comfortably.
The micro offices, to be managed by Amber Carroll, are expected to be popular with work-at-home parents and others impacted by the shut downs related to the COVID-19 virus. Many are tired of working alone and home and want to be productive, but around people.
All that is needed now is an experienced coffee shop operator to help make their ideas of a place "where everybody knows their name" into a reality for the Suntree area, Mary Renfro said.