You maybe might want to think twice about driving to Des Moines for that latte or cappuccino experience you’ve been wanting. Sue Clark and her Inspire U All Things Good will likely make you say “Starbucks who?”
Inspire U moved from Clark’s rural Wapello County home five years ago to the former Hess Drug building on the southwest corner of the Albia square, bringing an interesting mixture of bakery items, a noontime offering of soup and sandwiches, coffee and a do your own art business.
It caught on to the point of outgrowing the building. The former Albia Realty building that also housed the US Cellular shop before it moved into the former Duea Building became open. So did the side parking used by Duea to showcase new cars.
Clark wanted to expand her classes, she wanted to expand her bakery business with onsite ovens. She wanted to expand her craft and clothing lines. She wanted to expand her coffee offerings to include an espresso machine serving lattes and cappuccino, along with hand ground coffees. And she wanted to design a business that appealed to her large female clientele along with their husbands and men who like good food.
So she found a building just off the square, gutted it and started designing it specifically for her Inspire U All Things Good.
Chris Waters, C&C Carpentry (her son-in-law), Chris Popson Masonry and TJ Meredith Spray Foam, along with her husband and kids went to work on turning the design into a reality.
The new store includes a commercial kitchen, including ovens where she bakes (never fries) cupcakes, donuts, muffins, cookies and turnovers. All are Clark’s own recipes.
She purchased an espresso machine for her customers who consider themselves “coffee snobs.” Espressos and lattes have become one of her biggest sellers. Her coffee is made from grinding beans that are roasted on Tuesday and delivered Wednesday morning for her Wednesday through Saturday business. She serves a “wellness blend” tea that people love for its taste and health benefits. And she serves all sorts of homemade soups and sandwiches for a growing lunch crowd.
On one side of the building there is a certain lunch counter feel. In the larger dining area you get a definite “Friends” vibe with couches that curl around a gas fireplace. People can eat, read a book bathed in natural sunlight or watch traffic from a counter space that looks out onto Highway 5.
In the back of the building there is a large space for her home décor classes that will start this month. Clark also teaches sign-making classes. If you’re not enjoying the mismatched tables and chairs, counters, couches and fireplace enough, you can look down at the concrete floor or up at the ceiling which features uncovered ductwork. On the south wall of the main dining area is a place where stubborn plaster would not come off and you’d swear it is a relief of the world painted on brick original to the building.
The store also sells t-shirts, home décor, candles and specialty clothing.
“I couldn’t have done this without Bryon Stilley and Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative and Mike Speiler at Peoples State Bank supporting my dream,” she said. “I want to help Albia become a destination for coffee hounds and specialty shoppers.”