New Business: Coffee shop opens in historic Loockerman spot

From left, Shannon Yarnall, Mickayla Pearson, Kristin Stonesifer, Skyler Coker and Abbey Mullen operate the counter at Dover’s new coffee shop ‘The House of Coffi.’ The owner, Ms. Stonesifer, opened the shop on March 31. (Delaware State News/Ian Gronau)

DOVER — After 14 years working for Medtronic — a medical equipment company — Kristin Stonesifer has shed the corporate life in favor of opening The House of Coffi in downtown Dover. She says her travels are what inspired her.

“I’ve always had a passion for coffee, so when I was traveling for work I’d always end up in cool little coffee shops in all the cities I visited,” said Ms. Stonesifer. “Over time, I started to develop this vision for what I wanted to do.”

The new coffee shop on 14 Loockerman Plaza opened March 31.

Ms. Stonesifer says the reception from neighbors and customers alike have been overwhelming.

“The entire downtown has really been warm with their welcome,” she said. “Everyone came out to say hi and even offer their help. It’s been overwhelming. I think with the mix of businesses here, we’re not really in direct competition and we actually complement one another. I came into this with the idea that we wouldn’t be taking business, but adding it to the downtown area.”

The 15- to 20-seat coffee shop offers a selection of coffee, tea and espresso. It also serves pasties and fresh bread from La Baguette Bakery, donuts from Fifer Orchards and sandwiches.

Ms. Stonesifer feels the new location is ideal in terms of foot and car traffic and the availability of nearby public parking. After several other prospective locations she’s scouted fell through, she did a walk-through of the location she now leases.

“I knew as soon as I walked in here that it was perfect,” she said. “It used to be the parsonage for the Wesley Church, so it has some history to it, too. The first part of it was built back in the 1800s.”

The interior and exterior redesign cost in excess of $100,000, Ms. Stonesifer noted. She found the city’s permitting and the general process of setting up the business to conducive, but said that hiring on Becker Morgan Group — an architectural firm — simplified it.

“I had learned from other coffee shops in places like New Jersey and New York how important it is to hire someone who knows what they’re doing,” she said. “It might be tricky to pay the extra money, but it was worth it because we had zero problems and the process was so much smoother than it would have been otherwise.”

Ms. Stonesifer says after posting her help wanted ad, she was deluged with applications. Eventually, she hired on six staff-members to run the shop.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the coffee shop on April 23 at 10:30 a.m.

It’s open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, search @thehouseofcoffi on Facebook or call (302) 672-0059.

Business briefs

The Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce will host a “Coffee Coaching” session April 11 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Catrina Jefferson of Marketing by True North will present on the topic of growing a business through social media.

Coffee Coaching sessions are held at the CDCC every month, but there are no meetings in July or August.

It is a free program for all CDCC members and $25 for all non-members. To register, visit cdcc.net or call 302-734-7513.

Ribbon cuttings

•Peace of Mind Billing Specialists, LLC — cutting will be held at the service’s location on 435 N. DuPont Highway, Dover on April 13 at 10:30 a.m.

Coming soon

• Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant — the restaurant chain plans to open a new location in Rehoboth Beach in May. The business is hosting a job fairs at various times from April 18 to 29 to fill 100 year-round positions ranging from servers to cooks. For a list of dates and times, call 260-8000.

Now open

• Chick-Fil-A — chain restaurant opened a new location in Millsboro on 30141 Commerce Dr. 302-648-3221.

Closed

•Webb LH & Sons Market Inc. — the farmers market on 6975 Bay Road in Frederica has closed.

Did we miss something? Let us know about local business happenings by contacting staff writer Ian Gronau at 741-8272 or newsroom@newszap.com.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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