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Community Comes Together to Establish new Muncie Coffee Shop

By Liz Rieth | Published on in Business, Community, Economy, Local News
Kearston West And Madison Lukowski enjoy drinks outside of Muncie’s new coffee shop, Rosebud Coffee House.

Tapestries and plants decorate the entrances to old bank vaults.  A glass case filled with muffins and cookies sits where tellers once worked at their stations. A group of coffee drinkers crowd around a collection of mismatched wooden tables.

This old bank building now holds Muncie’s newest cafe, Rosebud Coffee House.

Located in the 8Twelve Neighborhood, Rosebud sits at the intersection of West Memorial Drive and South Hoyt Avenue. Inside sits regular customer Neil Kring. Already, he’s been to the coffee shop three times this week and dozens of times since it opened in December.

Kring, a campus pastor for the ministry Revolution, lives just a three-minute walk from Rosebud. He said he meets with a variety of people at Rosebud, from the students he works with to his neighbors.

Everyone loves the place and its good coffee, he said, and it brings people together from all over the community. While the 8Twelve Neighborhood has had its financial and health challenges, this place feels like a new investment into his home.

“[The Rosebud] is a sign of hope for a community, because hopefully, as time goes on, we will have more spaces like this in the neighborhood — more places for people to sit down and be together and eat and have conversations,” Kring said. “It is a great start to what we will hopefully see as future development in our community.”

How did this sign of hope come to be for the neighborhood? Rosebud was created by Muncie locals to impact Muncie locals.

This is the story of how three people came together to make this happen.

  1. Tiara Hicks

Tiara Hicks, owner of the shop, constantly flies about the shop each day. She checks on customers and asks how their cup of joe is. Her days at the shop are long, lasting nearly 12 hours.

Her dream for a coffee shop started when she was a little girl. When she was growing up, she would enjoy a cup of coffee on Sunday mornings with her grandparents, Larry and Joyce Patty.  Larry Patty, whose nickname was Rosebud, was never away from the drink.

“He drank coffee all day long, no matter the temperature, no matter what, coffee was his go-to drink. He was also all about hospitality. You didn’t go to his house that he didn’t offer you to come inside and have a cup of coffee,” Hicks said. “That’s definitely what I brought to the shop.”

As she grew up, she got involved in the hospitality industry as a waitress and hostess. Later, she earned a degree in business management and worked in Human Resources for restaurants. The idea for a coffee shop was brewing in her head before the pandemic.

As she started to dream of a shop, she was introduced to Ted Baker, executive director at Innovation Connector. Baker said he had an opportunity that could help make her dream a reality. He then connected her to two other key players.

  1.             Bryan Ayars

Ayars, chief executive officer at Open Door Health Services, swings by Rosebud up to five times a week. While he said he loves a cup of black coffee from Rosebud, he also stops by to see how the renter of his bank building is doing.

The health care organization Open Door rents out Rosebud’s building to Hicks. Ayars said the organization bought the former financial establishment two years ago.

They bought the building hoping to find a way to impact the health of the 8Twelve Neighborhood in new ways, Ayars said. While the organization will open a healthcare center next to Rosebud by the end of the year, well-rounded health needs more than that, he said.

Health can be impacted by a lack of community, food, and money. A coffee shop would bring all three of these.

While Ayars was able to provide the building for the shop, he knew Open Door would need someone to run the desired coffee shop. Ayars met Hicks through the nonprofit that works specifically to impact that neighborhood, the 8Twelve Coalition.

  1.             Jena Ashby

Ashby, member of The 8Twelve Coalition leadership and director of Impact & Programs at Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity, agrees that yes, the neighborhood has benefited from the coffee shop in a variety of ways. Both organizations wanted to work on neighborhood revitalization.

This was a neighborhood that used to have more restaurants and stores, Ashby said. Four years ago, Marsh Supermarkets closed at the same intersection where Rosebud now sits.

This idea started in 2016 when Habitat started work on a strategic plan for the area. The goal of the plan was to focus on both Habitat and the Coalition and bring a sense of community to the area. The idea of a coffee shop was tossed around.

8Twelve started to look for a potential coffee shop owner and years later, was connected to Hicks through Baker. Hicks was a Muncie local who could be inclusive and respectful of the neighborhood, Ashby said. Hicks has created a welcoming atmosphere with Rosebud, she added.

“It’s college students, it’s business professionals, it’s neighbors, it’s a really broad age and broad cross-section of the population that’s gathering there,” Ashby said. “I have someplace I can bring people to now in our neighborhood, which is awesome.”

8Twelve then helped Hicks get Rosebud off the ground by providing her with funds to pay for staff from the neighborhood and for a future patio.

Hicks said the investment in her coffee shop is an investment in the 8Twelve Neighborhood. Because the neighborhood has had few meeting places like this, not many people outside of the area visit it. She said Rosebud draws in new people, bringing together different sides of Muncie.

“[Rosebud] is all about breaking down barriers and being available to anybody and everybody,” she said. “I love the collaboration that occurs around a table and to me, that’s facilitated by coffee.”

To see the latest updates for Rosebud Coffee House, 1805 S. Hoyt Ave., visit www.facebook.com/rosebudcoffeehouse. 

Liz Rieth is a reporter for a Ball State University arts journalism class.