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Coffee shop brewing in downtown Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- The long wait for a downtown Worthington coffee shop will soon be coming to a close, as a new enterprise is brewing along 10th Street.

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Brad Bonnett (left) and Roger Johnson of Journey Ministries are shown inside the space that will be home to the new Phileo's coffee shop in downtown Worthington. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - The long wait for a downtown Worthington coffee shop will soon be coming to a close, as a new enterprise is brewing along 10th Street.

 

Journey Ministries, which owns the former Montgomery Wards building located at 210 10th St., has created a second company that will operate a coffee shop there. The business, which will occupy the same space as BenLee’s - the coffee/shop restaurant that closed in the spring of 2016 - will be known as Phileo’s.

 

“The strength of a community has historically been measured by the depth of connection members have with each other,” Journey Pastor Brad Bonnett explained. “Within those strongest communities, that connection resembles the love shared between brothers and sisters.  

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“Phileo is the Greek word that depicts that brotherly/sisterly relationship,” Bonnett continued. “The dream of Journey is that Phileo's would declare to everyone that they belong and are embraced into the community of Worthington and the surrounding area. Ultimately, the people of Journey dream that Phileo's would be a place where the community experiences and accepts the love freely given by Jesus."

 

In conjunction with the expected opening of Phileo’s sometime this summer, Journey Ministries will once again host church services in its 10th Street building. Journey has called Max 493, which is owned by Solid Rock Assembly, home on a temporary basis for the last several months (“We can't say enough about Max 493 being willing to help us,” Bonnett said) after the city told Journey it could no longer use its building as a church facility only.

 

“I think Journey first experienced the need to leave the building as a setback, as it felt like we were being kicked out of a place we called home,” Bonnett said. “But we've realized that we don’t need a building to be a church. The church has become stronger because we have realized that our identity isn’t where we worship, it’s who we are, and this space is designed to belong to as many people as possible and be used as much as possible.

 

“It was not a process that any of us intended - like we thought it would be best to take off a year,” Bonnett added with a laugh. “But I am grateful for we’ve changed in the process.”

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The coffee shop will be managed by a board of directors separate from that of Journey Ministries. That board is being chaired by Jason Turner of Worthington, who said that not rushing into launching Phlieo’s was a choice made by design.

“I think the knee-jerk reaction was, ‘How quickly do we need to get this open?’” Turner said. “But we decided we needed to it thoughtfully and do it right. We thought the more thought out this is, the better it’s going to go.”

 

Bonnett and Turner shared that the more than 1,000 hours of volunteer work done over the last several months in preparation for the coffee shop’s opening have been a product of “blood, sweat and tears from the congregation itself.” The floor has been sanded, steamed and refinished, and there’s all-new lighting in the main area of the building and the restaurant space. Decor will also be different and have a new theme.

 

Bonnett said Katie Hansen of Revive Interiors, Lakefield, has been working to coordinate colors, lighting and other interior details for the new business. Some furniture from BenLee’s has been replaced while some remains. A relaxing area with couches and comfy chairs is being created, while a coffee bar overlooking 10th Street will be another new feature.

 

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The Phileo’s board of directors is in the process of hiring a manager for the coffee shop. Bonnett said it’s already known what should be offered to the public.

 

“What we’ve understood from the community standpoint is that people want good coffee, quick lunches and fast internet,” he added. “Those are the top three things we keep hearing over and over.”

 

Turner noted that part-time help will also soon be sought for Phileo’s, which will be open for business Mondays through Saturdays. The business also now has a Facebook page.

 

“We’ll get things going and see how it goes, and listen to customers and find out what they like and get suggestions,” said Turner, adding that the food menu will feature deli-style sandwiches and soups to start.

 

Bonnett also hopes the new coffee shop is just the start of all kinds of activity and commerce inside the Journey building.

 

“Journey is doing everything it can make to spaces in the building available to the community.” “We’ve got about 15,000 square feet that we could be using here.”

“Hopefully what everyone sees is Journey using an opportunity to give something back to the community,” agreed Turner.

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Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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