TALK OF THE TOWN: ADVENTURE COFFEE AND THE BUILDING COLLAPSE
By Ethan Swick, Marketing Coordinator
A small business presence is vital to every thriving community. More small business means more unique visions, talent, and voices; small business is not the backbone, but the very DNA of a community’s economy.
Our organization’s passion lies in attracting and retaining businesses of all shapes and sizes to Christian County. As the county’s economic development organization, Show Me Christian County usually reports on upcoming projects, new businesses and pertinent economic opportunities. However, we recently had the chance to sit down with local business owner Hannah Vale to record her account of an event I’m sure you’ve heard about already.
Hannah and her husband, Jeff, are the owners and operators of Adventure Coffee Co. in Ozark, Missouri. Tucked in the corner of Church and 1st Street on the town’s historic downtown square, the shop first opened its doors in April of 2022. Among a traditional lineup of coffee and espresso, a score of house-made hand-crafted "Adventure Drinks" such as The Mountain Climber, The Road Tripper and local favorite The Scuba Diver populated the shop’s unique menu.
“We’ve always been coffee people,” said Hannah. “And we always wanted to be on the square.”
Little did they know, their dream of running a coffee shop would literally come crumbling down.
Pictured: The Vale family (left) and Jeff, Hannah, and Vicki the Espresso Machine (right)
"The shock of it all"
At 8:50 a.m. on December 29, 2022, it was business as usual at Adventure Coffee Co. A pair of employees, working diligently since six that morning, prepared orders behind the counter. Three customers sat in the store enjoying their morning brew. Then, a crack and a rumble.
“It was literally like cracking,” said Lisa Robertson in an interview with KY3. She was a patron that morning. “The wood just cracking, starting to go, and then the wall.”
One of the employees rushed to the back of the store, leading the others away from the crumbling wall. Together they watched the brick and mortar completely fall asunder. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
“I think it was just the shock of it all,” recalled Hannah. “I received a phone call that the building had collapsed. I was like, ‘What does that even mean?’”
In the days to follow, officials determined the remaining structure would come down. Inside the dining room, the tables, chairs, church pew and an antique 1912 piano would be lost. “We’re thankful the community has been great,” said Hannah. “The firefighters got Vicki the Espresso Machine out. She was the most noteworthy piece of equipment.”
Pictured: The building at 101 W Church Street, morning of the collapse (left) and Hannah with an engineer among the wreckage (right)
"A downtown square is pretty unique"
Despite the collapse, the Vales remain encouraged by the comradery among Ozark’s business owners and residents. When news of the collapse broke, the community was swift to show support. “Thank you for making us feel loved,” said Hannah. “It’s been humbling to say the least.”
“Having a downtown square is pretty unique,” Hannah continued. “Keep shopping locally. These business owners are putting an incredible amount of time and skill and money into their ventures because they love Ozark and doing business here.”
As for the Vales, they’re unsure if Adventure Coffee Co. will return to Ozark. However, they can still be engaged via social media and their podcast. Two Coffees and an Argument began as a passion project in the thick of the COVID-19 lockdowns – now the podcast has thousands of listeners. And for future updates, be sure to follow @ozarkadventurecoffeeco on Facebook and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Adventure Coffee Co.
When Disaster Strikes
In the event of a structural collapse or similar disaster, preparedness is key. Christian County Emergency Management assembles community-led teams such as COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) and LTRC (Long-Term Recovery Committee) to aid residents and businesses when disaster strikes. Visit CCEM's website to see how you can get involved.
Additionally, Show Me Christian County's own Anna Evans will be giving a seminar on disaster preparedness in Spring 2023 as part of a conference hosted by Emergency Management. Anna is a certified business resilience manager and serves on Christian County's COAD team. Watch our social media for future updates regarding this upcoming conference.
Show Me is incredibly proud of the Ozark community’s showering of love and support over the owners and staff of Adventure Coffee Co. and the adjacent businesses affected by the building collapse. In addition to disaster preparedness, we are encouraging everyone to continue shopping locally; if you haven’t had the opportunity to stop in around the Ozark Square, you’re certainly missing out. Visit someplace new today!
Find Two Coffees and a Podcast on Apple Podcasts
ABOUT SHOW ME CHRISTIAN COUNTY:
Show Me Christian County is a public-private partnership working to support business attraction, business retention & expansion, workforce development, and entrepreneurship throughout Christian County. SMCC is a collaborative partnership advancing economic health through an intentional and balanced approach to growth.