When Honest J’s closed down a few months ago, it came as a surprise to many. Suddenly the heart of downtown Wausau and the Wausau River District found itself without a coffee shop, where one has been for many years.
Then along came Daniel Tyler and Nolan Baker. They’ve reopened the space as The Pinery Coffee Co., and they are hoping it can be the center for a bigger mission around promoting Wausau.
The coffee company has been open since Oct. 16, though unofficially. The pair opened the shop via a soft launch with very limited hours to start training employees, getting a sense of the downtown populace and to make sure all the systems are working properly.
The shop officially opened Wednesday.
When Honest J’s closed, it broke a chain of coffee shops continually operating in the space for just under two decades. Alister Deacon Coffee Shop kicked things off in the mid-2000s, and subsequent new owners changed it to The Paisley Mug, The Ugly Mug and then the latest, Honest J’s.
The Pinery Coffee Co’s origins
The Pinery Coffee Co. have fresh ideas for the place. Tyler and Baker tell City Pages that their mission is essentially two-fold – set the standard to quality when it comes to espresso (which is the basis of all the other good coffee drinks that are built on that); and to prompt Wausau.
Tyler is from Arkansas and Baker grew up in Washington State after being born in Michigan. He met Baker at a bonfire here after both had moved to the area and learned they have a shared passion for coffee. Tyler had the idea of starting a coffee shop called The Pinery, owing to Wausau’s heritage, and the two hit it off with a shared vision.
Baker says his passion for coffee came out of receiving a French press in college. He quickly became obsessed with every detail of making coffee taste as good as possible.
They’ll be roasting their own beans, something new for the location, and they overhauled their systems at the shop, even installing a new water filtration system to ensure quality.
The pair both have careers outside of the coffee shop. Tyler is a pastor and runs Ascend Marketing. Baker works as a speech therapist via tele-health. Both are working hard to ensure their staff is well trained, so that everyone coming to The Pinery has a consistent experience.
On a mission
Both love Wausau and Tyler says part of the mission here is to help make Wausau a better place to live. They’re planning to donate a portion of profits to non-profits, choosing a different one every month. Baker says when he and his girlfriend moved to Wisconsin, they debated over Appleton and Wausau. “I love Daniel’s vision of ‘Wausau doesn’t know how cool it is,’” Baker says. “From an outsider’s perspective it’s fun to come in and encourage that.”
Besides coffee, the coffee shop will also sell paninis and wraps made in the panini press. Many of those items will have vegan or gluten-free options.
Tyler and Baker think they can do fine in the location now, but are optimistic that they’ll be set up well when Wausau’s downtown housing plans start to finally come to fruition.
The Pinery Coffee Company is located at 300 N. Third Street, STE 103. Hours will be 6:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday and 7:30 am to noon on Sunday. They may also expand hours into the evening if they see the demand. Find more information at thepinerycoffeeco.com or by searching The Pinery Coffee Company on Facebook and Instagram.