“We’re trying to turn a negative into a positive,” explained the happy young woman who took my drink order. I asked her if someone loved rabbits or was the cafe’s name a Bible reference. Apparently, one coffee shop in Deep East Texas is willing to poke fun with residents of the Bible Belt.
Thumpers Coffee and Gift Shop recently opened in the town of Nacogdoches, Texas. The spiritual hub has a few customers in the morning but it’s at night that it fully comes to life. As soon as classes end at the nearby campus of SFA-Stephen F. Austin University-students converge on the storefront shop to drink coffee and study.
Biblical sayings are painted on canvases throughout the property and a huge, ornate mural is displayed on the ceiling. The cork/message board displays bible studies, resources and places to worship and pray. In fact, a prayer box is hung next to it for specific prayer requests.
The customers were nicely dressed and polite. It’s peaceful environment is like a library where everyone lowers the voice to chat. The ever-present personal computers dotted the place and were accommodated with a high-fi signal provided by the cafe.
Prices were normal-about $2 for a medium coffee. There were light snacks and offerings along with a variety of hot and cold beverages. Hot chocolate was a nice addition to the menu and hard to find.
One positive about the place that actually drew me in was the constant crowd. As soon as Thumpers opened, the parking lot always seems to be full. We actually had to park behind the building because all the spaces in front were full.
Overall, I think this place will make it. Automatic acceptance is hard to come by in any town-big or small. This cafe filled an obviously needed spot on the North Street row of restaurants. Competition like Starbucks and Java Jacks is far enough down the road that Thumpers stands alone as the area coffee stop.
With traffic flow and a popular product, I see this business turning a negative into a big, financial positive. They built it and people came, the classic recipe for success.
In a town that is full of the faithful and churches are plentiful, it’s nice that they can relax a bit. Not taking yourself too seriously is surely a sign of a peaceful heart. This cafe brings those of faith a safe place to share fellowship.
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