Even though it’s been in operation for less than two weeks, a downtown coffee shop run by two area artists has already proven a hit with locals.
After months of hard work, Good Day Coffee opened its doors to the public Dec. 18. The new coffee shop is located at 318 Central Ave. — the same storefront that was home until recently to Bluebird Cakery.
Six days a week from 6:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., Good Day serves deluxe coffee and other beverages to go with handmade baked goods. It’s run by Jess Prill, who runs Fleur de Lis Gallery next door to the shop, and Northfield artist Cathy Collinson, who former owner of Glass Garden Beads.
Until recently, both Bluebird and The Cheese Cave brought significant foot traffic to the building, turning it into something of a downtown hub. When both closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Prill’s art gallery felt the effects acutely.
In something of a rare COVID-era redemption story, both of those spaces are now filled with bustling businesses. Since November, the Cheese Cave space has been home to El Jefe, formerly a popular Mexican food truck.
When Bluebird closed, early risers had few choices in Faribault for a hot cup of coffee to get their day started right. Jokingly, Collinson suggested to Prill that the two start up their own coffee shop — but the more they thought about it, the more they realized it made sense.
Both Prill and Collision bring experience to their new venture. Prill spent seven years crafting custom cappuccinos as a Starbucks barista, while Collinson trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and is well known for her delicious pies. Neither were under any illusions that starting a coffee shop in the middle of the pandemic would be easy. While they’ve managed to get it going, Good Day isn’t currently able to offer indoor seating, much to the disappointment of its customers.
Prill said that traffic thus far has been steady and greater than she anticipated, although she came into it with relatively low expectations. Notably, she said that a lot of customers are placing and picking up orders for multiple people.
Though they are in the process of training staff, Collinson and Prill are working the shop every day for now. Collinson does all of the baking in the upstairs kitchen, while Prill completes orders downstairs — something that even with her experience, has come with a bit of a learning curve.
“I did coffee, but it’s been over 20 years,” she said. “It’s come back really fast, but you kind of have to find your rhythm.”
Things are going smoothly enough that the coffee shop is already starting to expand its offerings. On Wednesday, it started serving Cold Brew Nitro Coffee, and Collinson’s pies could be coming as soon as this spring.
Once they can host patrons inside, Prill said she wants to keep things from getting too crowded. While Bluebird had a small couch and chairs, Good Day is more likely to stick to just a small bar along the window, with additional seating available in the adjacent indoor atrium.
Prill said that a lot of customers have thanked her for bringing a coffee shop back to downtown. Among those enthusiastic about Good Day is Julia Gates, a former Bluebird customer who lives and works near to downtown.
“I’m very very glad that we have another local place in town,” she said. “Downtown really needs more places that the community can meet.”