Bridging the Coffee Gap: As doors close on High Bridge Coffee, The Goat steps in
‘The Goat takes over High Bridge” sounds like an animated action flick, but is actually the latest change in the Chippewa Valley coffee scene.
High Bridge Coffee, which opened last year near Lake Wissota, closed for business this month, but Eau Claire coffee shop The Goat is going to step up and fill the space with a similar vibe and products, opening its third location.
The Wissota Health and Regional Vent Center, part of Dove Healthcare, fosters the space.
Tunnels connect the shop to St. Joseph’s Hospital – a convenience for hospital visitors – but the coffee shop is an independent entity that is open to the public.
Scott and Shirley Rogers opened High Bridge in March 2015 as another venture in their long coffee career (they formerly operated Gloria Jean’s Coffee in Oakwood Mall). When the space became available, the couple took the opportunity.
“We decided to take a leap and not just enjoy coffee, but be in the business, too,” Scott Rogers said.
“You’ll get a similar feeling of our coffee shop in theirs. We’re glad it’s going to continue as a place for the guests we’ve gotten to know really well over the last year to go enjoy the same things.” – Scott Rogers, former operator of High Bridge Coffee
The couple ran Gloria Jean’s for 10 years, until the lease was up in January 2014. Shortly after, they heard of a vacancy in Chippewa Falls that was located near numerous other businesses and far from other coffee shops, and High Bridge was opened.
This past spring, the Rogerses considered where they would go from here after running the coffee shop for a year.
“We enjoy the business, but there’s only so much you can do,” Rogers said. “We’re looking forward to having time to enjoying everything our community has to offer without worrying about business.”
The Rogers’ like to frequent The Goat, as well as other Eau Claire coffee shops. They knew the owners, Laura and Ryan Bembnister, would be a logical choice to continue the coffee legacy in the High Bridge location.
The Bembnisters used their mutual love of coffee and their combined business skills to impulsively open an independent coffee shop nearly 12 years ago. Since then, the original Goat has moved a few buildings down Water Street, and opened a sibling space in Marshfield Clinic two years ago.
The duo hopes the new Chippewa Falls location will spread their name around the Chippewa Valley. They do not advertise, but instead donate money, along with their time and products, to local causes; they plan to do the same in Chippewa Falls.
The Bembnisters believes the Chippewa Falls Goat will create another convenient, local food provider closer to residents who live far from the heart of the city. Additionally, they want to put their knowledge from having a shop in Eau Claire’s Marshfield Clinic to use in the hospital area.
“It’s a goal of ours to make a nice space for family that’s visiting to unwind,” Laura Bembnister said. “We want to make people feel like they’re in the regular world when they’re visiting people who aren’t doing so well.”
The Goat owners received the opportunity to sign the lease for the former High Bridge location less than three weeks before the opening date. Two longtime employees prepped the new space so that it could re-open quickly and continue to accommodd visitors, according to the Bembnisters.
Other than a few new pieces of equipment, The Goat is keeping much of the High Bridge’s interior and simply adding a “Goat energy,” making the move into the new space an easy one.
“You’ll get a similar feeling of our coffee shop in theirs,” Rogers said of his expectations for the new owners. “We’re glad it’s going to continue as a place for the guests we’ve gotten to know really well over the last year to go and enjoy the same things.”
The Goat Coffee House (Chippewa Falls) • 2829 County Highway I, Suite 1A, Chippewa Falls • (715) 726-3858