EDMOND — A local eye surgeon has opened a coffee shop where visitors are offered a blend of physical and spiritual sustenance.
Dr. Scott Sigler said he envisioned Coffee Commission as a place where people could buy a cup of java while relaxing alone or with friends. Amid faith-inspired wall decor and faith-full baristas and visitors, conversations about God's love may spring up naturally, he said.
“We really wanted a place where you could meet people and talk about God,” he said.
Sigler said he and Barry Bryant opened the coffeehouse at 309 S Bryant, Suite 230, in February. He said it is sort of a “modern-day water well” based on the water wells of biblical times, which were community gathering spots.
“Our modern-day water wells are movie theaters, coffeehouses and restaurants,” he said. “Here we are sharing God's love over a cup of coffee.”
‘Coffee with a cause'
Sigler said the new establishment is similar to Ebenezer's Coffee House, operated by National Community Church in Washington, D.C. The church opened the coffeehouse in an old building that had been empty for many years, with the idea of fostering community relations. Live music and free Wi-Fi are offered, along with coffee drinks and baked goods.
Like Ebenezer's, Sigler said, Coffee Commission's goal is to provide a safe setting where people can talk about and share the love of Christ with others. He said the idea was bounced around by leaders at his former church before they decided to go in a different direction.
Sigler, now a member of Vintage Church, said he felt that the Lord was still urging him to open the coffeehouse, so with Bryant, he took the shop from dream to reality.
Sigler, an ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon busy with his private practice and volunteer work for a local mission, said he wasn't sure how he would work the coffeehouse into his schedule, but he felt compelled to try.
“I never expected to do any of this,” he said, smiling. “I know that God wanted me to do it, and I did it.”
He said the coffeehouse's motto — “Coffee with a cause” — can be seen in many ways:
Baristas are placed in a six-week mentoring program pairing them with people from the local faith community who can help them learn how to share the Gospel effectively.
The coffee served is from Ends of the Earth, a small-batch specialty coffee roaster in Chandler that roasts when ordered and ships fresh. The company also buys Farmer-Direct coffee beans and supports efforts to improve the lives of children in American group homes and orphanages.
Each day until 10 a.m., a cup of coffee is $1, a bargain seen as a way to give back to the community.
A different charity is selected each month to receive a portion of the coffeehouse's proceeds. Sigler said a nonprofit organization has been set up to handle donations to the coffee shop.
Live music from local faith-inspired musicians and groups is performed at the establishment on Thursday nights.
Faith-inspired decor such as a “Window to the World” window frame art piece may be found in various areas of the coffeehouse. The window frame decor features pictures taken during mission trip efforts by the coffeehouse's baristas.
Striving for excellence
Sigler said while faith and community building are the coffeehouse's primary goals, he also wanted to make sure that the business was done right. In other words, he wanted the faith-themed business to reflect God's excellence in all ways.
To that end, he and Bryant purchased the Slayer 2.0, which is considered one of the best espresso machines on the market. He said baristas across the metro area have come to the shop just to see the machine.
“We wanted to make sure we had the best product,” he said.
Also, he said he wanted to make sure there was plenty of seating in comfortable arrangements. To that end, the coffeehouse includes a meeting room, called “The Thunder Room” in honor of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, and other seating options such as a “Friends” area patterned after the popular 1990s NBC sitcom. An outdoor patio area also is featured.
Matt Willison, 23, the coffeehouse's manager, said most customers are drawn to the establishment through the baristas who work there and word-of-mouth from other people who visit.
Willison said with free Wi-Fi and plenty of places to plug in various techno gadgets, the shop appears to appeal to students from nearby University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma Christian University as well as others in the local community.
“Really, our goal is to reach out,” he said. “We wanted this to be more of a community watering hole — a place where people can connect.”