JOHNSTOWN — A local coffee entrepreneur wants to spark a Spa City-style nightlife in downtown Johnstown.
Shawn Beebie has big plans ahead for the 70-year home of Johnstown Restaurant Supply on 132 West Main Street: a restaurant, bar, and expanded coffee shop on the third floor; a co-working space eventually placed on the second and third floor.
“For anybody to be in the industry, you shouldn’t be afraid that I’m here,” said Beebie, owner of Second Wind Coffee down the street since 2018. “A prime example is Saratoga: the more that’s here, the better we’re all going to succeed.”
For passersby, Beebie’s ambitions have been showcased on a cut-off “ND COFFEE” sign at the new site. The fragmentary gold lettering was the result of a window fracture during exterior renovation effectively removing the “SECOND WI.”
“It’s confusing to people,” Beebie said. “I’m sure they’re like, ‘Why does it only say half of Second Wind Coffee? What the hell?'”
Open since 2018 at 32 West Main St. is Second Wind Coffee, operated by Beebie and helped from time to time by seasonal and part-time employees. While serving house-roasted brews, the maximalist joint amassed something of a local following.
Two years ago, he bought the supply store location in hopes of building on his success and fleshing out his vision for the downtown area. But COVID-19-induced conditions stifled progress.
“I just don’t want to wait any longer,” Beebie said. “Honestly, what better time than now? People are thirsting, they’re craving a new place.”
Beebie noted that the “bigger but even cooler” space will have a curated design and expanded dining options, including beer, signature cocktails and meals rife with locally sourced ingredients.
Between the coffee shop, the still-unnamed restaurant and co-working space, about 30 to 40 people would be working under his roof.
Because of a change in occupancy, site plan approval from the city Planning Board is needed. By law, Fulton County is also required to review plans due to the building’s close proximity to a state highway.
“There might be some investment depending on what they want to do and what they want the use to be,” said City Engineer Chris Vose. “There are some challenges potentially with putting in a real kitchen in there, the existing levels of egress that they have and also providing adequate fire suppression.”
There’s already been some plumbing and partitions put up on the interior, according to Steven Smith, an engineering contractor representing Beebie throughout the planning process.
A city public hearing on the matter is set for next month.
Should officials OK the project, Beebie will focus on the co-working space last. Opening up the coffee shop in the spring and open the restaurant in the late spring or early summer remain his top priorities.
“I’m creating that center of our community to bring people together, create moments in time and nourish them — give them incredible food and drinks at the same time,” Beebie said.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.
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