ASHVILLE, AL (WBRC) - You don’t have to drive far off the interstate before arriving at a small coffee shop on U.S. Highway 231 in the small St. Clair County town of Ashville.
As you drive up to the rustic looking building, you may see smoke rising in the air from behind the shop named Canoe Creek Coffee. If you walk around back of the building, you may see owner Mike Bailey inside an open shed, roasting coffee beans in a roaster he designed.
“I was sitting in the doctor’s office one day, designed that roaster, took it to a fab shop and he made it for me,” said Bailey. “It’s one of a kind.”
According to Bailey, he came up with the design after an extensive search for a roaster failed to find one big enough. Those beans, roasted in different ways, are used to make all the coffee served inside. Bailey’s favorite is the Backpacker Blend.
“The darker the roast the more you taste the fire, and the lighter the roast the more you taste the coffee bean, and we mix the two,” explained Bailey. “You kind of get both worlds with that coffee.”
Coffee from beans roasted onsite in a one-of-a-kind roaster is just one of the many unique things that make Canoe Creek Coffee special. Inside you’ll find a table that was used as a prop during the filming of the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes." The walls are covered with wood from trees on the property that were cut down during a remodel. You’ll also see a hoosier cabinet that survived the April 27, 2011 tornado. It was inside the home of a family friend that was hit by the storm.
Even though the shop was started out of a love for coffee that Bailey and his daughter, Sarah Jane, share, it’s now a business adventure for the whole family. Bailey and his wife, Alison have five adopted children, who all help operate the shop.
“They’re learning good work ethic, learning how to greet people, and how to meet new people,” said Bailey. “They’re learning a lot of good business skills.”
The shop also incorporates his wife’s love of baking. With your coffee, you can get breakfast, lunch, and pastries that are made fresh every morning.
“We have bear claws, cherry pin wheels, and we make three different kind of scones,” said Bailey’s wife, Alison. “We have muffins, and cinnamon rolls are the most popular. We also make some breakfast sandwiches.”
A grilled cheese sandwich with apples is a customer favorite for lunch. The shop has become popular with locals, and people passing through the area.
“We love when people come out, we enjoy talking to them,” explained Alison, who continued that many of their customers are now good friends.
“Every now and then one of them will call us and let us know why they’re not going to be coming by on their regular day, and we appreciate it and tell them we’ll see them next time,” said Alison.
You can learn more about Canoe Creek Coffee by going to their website, canoecreekcoffee.com.