Coffee on the River (Lansing)

Coffee on the River interior view, 2020 Preservation at Its Best

2020 Preservation at Its Best: Small Commercial

Transforming 1800 square feet of an 1868 grain elevator into a coffee shop poses unique challenges. The owners  designed the interior to keep with the integrity and character of the stone building and wood hoppers, which are original to the building. They used scrap lumber, tin, and recycled cabinetry to create the coffee shop, which they believe adds a unique, rustic elegance to the interior space.

In order to save costs, the sisters did 85-90% of the work themselves, putting in roughly 1,500 hours of work. They obtained a business loan of $52,000 to start their business; $31,000 of that was used for business start-up costs (equipment, kitchen supplies, inventory), while $16,000 was dedicated to building materials, electricians, plumbing, and a contractor.

Coffee on the River interior view, 2020 Preservation at Its Best

Many building materials were reclaimed and recycled, and they utilized some of their personal furniture and interior decorations. They took possession of the property and began renovations on June 15, 2019 and opened for business September 26, 2019.

Preservation Iowa’s two most visible programs are Iowa’s Most Endangered and Preservation at Its Best. These two programs work well together because being listed as Most Endangered often times leads to awareness, a preservation effort, and a high-quality, award winning project.

The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2020 Preservation at its Best award winners includes: