An old favorite for locals is making its way back on the scene
By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- There's a saying; if you build it, they will come. For friends and business partners Doug Englishman and Barry Robertson, they hope the saying rings true.
The duo are pouring their heart and soul into re-opening an old favorite -- Zelmo's Coffee House.
Those who grew up in Fort Pierce during the 90s probably remember the small coffee shop on Orange Avenue, formally known as 'Zelmo's Depot,' for its open mic nights, spray-painted walls and generally fun vibe.
"It's not only a dream to re-open Zelmo's, it's a passion of mine," said Mr. Englishman. "There's a niche that Zelmo's will fill. We really want to bring some more life to the downtown area and specifically Avenue A. There are lots of little shops and restaurants that can join together and make this area a great place to visit."
The owners are working hard to finish the rebuilding process. Drywall still needs to be hung, painting still needs to be finished and the floors still need to be laid, but the end to the two-year adventure is in sight.
"There's been a lot of red tape to get through, but the city and members of the community have been really supportive," said Mr. Robertson. "We want to be a part of the community. We want to work with everyone and bring people to the area. There's more to downtown area than just the river. There are lots of places to shop, eat and grab a drink. We want everyone to know this is a safe, friendly environment where everyone can enjoy what a beautiful place this really is."
The coffee shop will have something for everyone. Those who want to enjoy hot brews can choose coffee or tea and relax on comfortable couches. There will be a T.V. in the sitting area, along with wireless internet, giving those who want to check email, conduct business or troll social media sites an opportunity to do so.
The stage and sound system, provided by Tom Snowberger of Rock Shop Music, will amplify music by local bands and, with any luck, touring bands that make a stop at this once popular spot on the music scene.
An open mic night will be held once a week, along with poetry readings, spoken word, and future plans for karaoke and a piano bar.
The back room of Zelmo's will include a back-bar that will serve beer and wine, a pool table, darts, and an escape from the music to a quieter, more intimate setting.
There will also be benches outside that will offer a breath of fresh air.
"The infrastructure had to be completely renovated," Mr. Robertson said. "But, the hard work and dedication will pay off. This is going to be a special place."
"From local art on display to a chance to listen to some great music, we hope to make everyone happy with the new Zelmo's," said Mr. Englishman. "We live up to our name. We really are 'The People's Coffee House'."
Zelmo's will be opening sometime in May. It is located at 208-B Avenue A, in downtown Fort Pierce.