Barbara Johnson is on track to open a coffee and sandwich shop right in the heart of Brookneal. Originally an old drive in, and eventually Nationwide Insurance, the old building Johnson plans to use has sat vacant for years.
“I rode by spur of the moment and thought I’d like to have a coffee shop there, and then I took that idea and ran with it,” Johnson said.
She and a silent partner will be running the day-to-day operations. They plan to name the new business Pure Faith Café.
“We were trying to put our heads together for a name to fit it,” Johnson said.
She said the idea came to her unexpectedly while drinking a bottle of Pure Life Tea, and she was inspired to give the café a faith-based name.
“My life story is based on faith in God,” Johnson said.
Together with her daughters and her partner, Johnson has been renovating the building and getting everything installed and inspected. Current plans are to open by the end of summer. The café will sell coffee, tea, homemade sub sandwiches, cookies, muffins and hand-dipped Hershey’s ice cream.
Johnson has years of experience in retail and the food industry, and said she is excited to bring something new to the local community.
“It’s my personal testimony wrapped up in a coffee shop,” Johnson said.
Past hardships, including having a stillborn daughter in 2015, have also fueled Johnson’s passion. She said her faith has helped her overcome such obstacles, and is expressed through the Pure Faith Café slogan, Pray, Eat, Laugh.
“Without faith, I have nothing,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the café’s logo is another expression of her faith.
“My 10-year-old daughter Caleigh Johnson designed our coffee shop logo. It’s a coffee cup, but the top and handle is the Christian fish, and the steam coming from the cup is three crosses,” Johnson said.
Pure Faith Café will be open six days per week, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., though hours may change based on when customers come. Johnson plans to take call-in orders and offer curbside service and local deliveries, depending on staffing.
Johnson said the café will not have a dine-in option due to space, and that on duty police officers, fire fighters, and EMS first responders will receive discounted rates.
As the café moves towards opening, there will be additional signage by the road and a grand opening soon.
Brookneal could have its own shop for iced coffees and pastries by the end of the summer.