In business: Town welcomes its own coffee shop

Chris Wolf’s Food Chronicles: Thyme to Talk in Thomaston

Posted:  Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 8:30am
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THOMASTON – The Town of Thomaston took another step toward revitalizing its downtown with the opening of Thyme to Talk, a coffee shop that was the number-one need, according to town citizens in a survey.

Shirley Barlow is the sole proprietor of the shop at 167 Main Street. She also serves on the town's comprehensive planning board that includes the review board for the town's 10-year plan.

"We did a survey last summer," said Barlow. "The one thing that almost every person put on it was that the town needed a coffee shop."

Barlow said everyone missed the Highland Café, which used to be on Main Street, before the road construction began.

"We've had two years of bad road construction and that coffee shop closed two and a half years ago," she said. "I sort of semi-retired from the mental health field and I decided I need to look toward the future. I didn't want to be job hunting at 75 so here I am. I'm trying out my entrepreneurial skills."

Thyme to Talk had their grand opening on Sunday, April 8, and a ribbon-cutting on Monday, April 9.

Barlow said the response has been incredible.

"We had more than 100 people at our open house," she said. "People have been so supportive. They are really excited about having a community based coffee shop."

Barlow said they had a painting party and their goal was to keep the costs down as much as possible. Barlow said she plans on being open year-round.

Thyme to Talk's current hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays.

"Our coffee is Seacoast Coffee," Barlow said. "It's from a company in Portland. One of the women who works here had a B&B in Lincolnville for 10 years and this was the coffee she liked. We tried various types of coffee and we like this one a lot."

Thyme to Talk offers coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Barlow said later in the season they will offer iced coffee and iced tea.

"We have donuts, of course, and our bagels are from New York," she said. "We get them shipped express up to us. They are real New York bagels. Then we have homemade blueberry muffins and cake, and homemade scones that are very delicious."

Jean Short does the baking for the shop right now, but Barlow said she hopes to employ six bakers so they can feature a different variety each day. Home-cooking is what people want, she said.

"We don't prepare food here," Barlow said. "We use people who have certified home kitchens, but aren't quite ready to set up on their own. We're taking it one step at a time and come summer, we'll branch out. We're thinking we'll offer open faced sandwiches, a cup of soup and small salad daily."

Barlow said they are a bookstore and coffee shop, not a restaurant.

Barlow said six or seven new businesses have opened in Thomaston since the Route 1 road construction stopped.

"We have small room in the back that will be available to small groups to meet and talk," she said. "Right now it's filled with tools, but soon. Like I said, one step at a time. We're open and people like us. I find that just amazing in itself."

Small, quaint and homey is the best way to describe Thyme for Talk. A great place for locals to gather, Wifi is available and there is a front and rear entrance.