ROCKPORT—Having moved to Camden from south of Boston four years ago, the Gelerman family wasn’t looking to start a new business.
“We came up to retire,” said Theola Gelerman, sitting at the oval granite bar under mullioned windows on the sunny first floor at their new business venture.
“We had run a specialty grocery store for 18 years,” added her husband, David. “And we thought we were done.”
That notion changed when the Gelermans learned that the Cellardoor Winery Tasting Room on the corner of Route 90 in Rockport was up for sale this past year and the gears began to turn again.
“We started thinking about it once again, only more scaled down,” said David. “We also wanted it to be a place where our kids, who are also entrepreneurial, could be involved in the family business.”
Their 11-year-old daughter, Olivia, is home-schooled and will help with the operations of the store, along with assisting with the extensive collection of the manga and anime books she has personally picked out for the second floor, which offers mostly café-related items, home good and hard cover books.
Their sons, Noah, 21, and Alan Wong, 20, run a global tactical supply online store and will help out with social media and other aspects of the business.
“We all have our strengths and we’re all just trying to meld them into one place where everyone can bring something to the table,” said Theola.
47 West still has much of the same interior as the Cellardoor Winery had set up. At the helm of the espresso bar is the Rolls Royce of coffee makers—a Victoria Arduino "Adonis.”
”I really believe in offering good, organic fair trade coffee and I roast our own beans, which we source from New Jersey,” said Theola. “We will only have three or four selections of coffee, something for the people who just want cream and sugar and something for the die-hards, who want the perfect espresso or the caramel latte. We will also have non-dairy options and cold-filtered coffee.”
Knowing that people still associate this location with Cellardoor Winery, Theola said: “We are serving poured wine and beer, but we’re not selling it by the bottle, so that other establishments nearby can reserve that as their niche. 47 West is going to be a place to stop by, have a cup of coffee or espresso, have a glass of wine, read a book, and talk to people across the bar.”
The back of the first floor was renovated with permits to add a kitchen.The Gelermans are working with a good friend, baker Pam Huard, on baked goods that will pair well with both coffee and wine and beer, as well as carrot cake, scones, biscotti and cookies.
“Our vision for this place is to dabble a bit and see what people want, “ said David. “We may add panini sandwiches and more of a rotating menu as we go. As we progress, we are also planning for private events that can be catered, and down the road, public events involving more food. We even have space outside in the summer to do more outside seating.”
“We want this to be an eclectic mix of food and home items you can’t really get anywhere else and just give a level of customer service that makes people feel that they can just pop in and have a great experience,” said David. “For that reason, we’re not even adding a tip line on our food items, because it’s about making it affordable and easy.”
47 West has now officially to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours in the summer. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more details.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org