Week 8: Small Town Business Owners Offer New Hang-Out Spot

By: Abby Vance and Pierce Morrison

Water Valley, Miss. –  On Saturday, October 6, Water Valley welcomed its newest business, The Humble Bee Cafe, to Main Street.

The Humble Bee Cafe serves a variety of coffees, teas, pastries and fresh-to-order beignets.

Sarah Stone and Maggie Richardson opened the cafe this past Saturday as mother/daughter partners and are hopeful the community responds the way they have envisioned.

“We can do just about anything Starbucks can,” co-owner Maggie Richardson said. “I can do hot, cold, frappucinos, lattes, anything.”

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business,” Stone said. “And at my age I finally decided to trust my instinct.”

Richardson lives in the upstairs apartment above the cafe and is currently their only worker. She was an Ole Miss student but withdrew for the semester to open up the coffee shop.

“When we opened, we opened with the mindset of wanting people to come hang out, like they do at Starbucks and other coffee shops in Oxford,” Richardson said. “We don’t have one of those in Water Valley, and the places in Oxford can be really loud.”

Water Vally resident Grant Thompson is hopeful that the coffee shop will be prosperous.

“With Water Valley, it’s all about location,” Thompson said. “If they make the right business moves, they will do just fine.”

Other members of the Water Valley community are supportive. Robert Turnage and his wife, Monica, own Turnage Drug Store right down from The Humble Bee Cafe and are eager and hopeful for the business’ success.

“This will be the third coffee shop in the past year or so,” Thompson said.

Heartbreak Coffee and Downtown Inn were both coffee shops located on Main Street but closed.

The previous shop was strictly a coffee shop, and then Richardson and her mother bought the building from the previous owners.

“This opportunity came up and it was absolutely perfect and fit exactly what we wanted,” Stone said. “We wanted a place for my daughter to live because if we bought the business then we would have to sell her house.”

Stone understands that with this type of business, there can be slow seasons; however, Stone and Richardson are prepared and want to keep their focus on coffee.

“We don’t want to have to change and we’re keeping from doing that by having the two rooms in the back,” Stone said. “So by renting out the two rooms in the back, we are able to offset any slow seasons in the coffee world.”

In addition to the coffee shop, they also have two bedrooms available for rent in the back of the cafe. Following the success of their first weekend, they are booked until the first week of November.

“We want this to become a place between work and home,” Richardson said.

“Coffee is a community thing,” Stone said. There are so many conversations that happen over a simple cup of coffee. We wanted to give a place that was nice and relaxing, so that people could have those conversation.”

The Humble Bee Cafe is located at 405 N Main Street and open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m-4 p.m.

The Humble Bee Cafe offers coffee, tea, seasonal beverages and fresh pastries. Photo by Abby Vance.

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