Wiccan rumors bewitching local coffee shop owners
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
All he wanted to do, Paul Langlois said, was serve a good cup of coffee. If people wanted to spend time at his business, Coffeehouse Junction, that was fine, too.
"I think we have the best coffee in town," he said with a smile. "We wanted people to feel comfortable, to hang out here."
But business isn't good. Paul and his father, Graham, are attributing their problems to more than just hot weather and high gasoline prices. The Langlois are fighting a rumor they feel is causing them big problems in this small town.
Graham said he thought it was crazy when he first heard the rumor they were conducting Wiccan or witchcraft classes at their downtown Hartselle store. Then, people came in the coffeehouse to question if the witchcraft rumors were true. The Langlois, who have lived in Hartselle for 10 years, said a decline in business followed.
"We've noticed business going down hill in the past two months," Graham said. "Our business this Depot Days was one-third of what it was last year."
Paul said high school students often come into their store and play board games or work on homework. They are good kids, he said, and no classes of any sort are going on at the coffeehouse.
A local preacher asked the father and son team about the rumor this week and they were quick to set the record straight with him, too.
"Being in business is hard enough without all these rumors," Graham said.
The Langlois have been in business two years and are hoping to weather this latest storm. They are scaling down on the antiques for sale in the store and offering tanning packages. They are also continuing to cater to special needs of their customers, such as those looking to cut back on sugar. Coffeehouse Junction features 18 sugar-free flavors, something they hope sets the store apart from the other coffeehouses in town.
It's those loyal customers – the ones who order up their daily espresso over ice – that keep the father and son going. That, and the contact they have with the customers who are paying their first visit to Hartselle. They recently entertained two Danish visitors who sent them a thank you card when they returned home.
"You can't imagine how excited we were when we received that card," Graham said.