From Shoes To Brews

I recently had the pleasure of stopping in at Broken Tree Coffee, the new coffee shop on Main Street in Peoria. Broken Tree is located in the building most natives knew as Running Central – Peoria’s go-to shop for all things running. A lot has changed in the few months since the owner of Running Central decided to relocate his business.

Upon entering the building along Sheridan, you can see the murals have been adapted with the changing of the guard. Gone is the homage to running, and in its place is a mural of the new business’ namesake.

According to their website, “Broken Tree Coffee is a family owned local coffee roastery in Peoria, Illinois that specializes in small batch, roasted to order Specialty Coffee.” It follows the latest trend of what’s happening in the coffee industry. No longer is it about slinging you a cup from the can coffee, instead you are getting a cup of full-bodied experience.

The atmosphere inside is what most coffee drinkers (or tea drinkers in the case of my wife) have come to enjoy. A fully renovated space which puts an emphasis on comfort and attention to detail is paid throughout the building. A cool bar area displays burlap coffee sacks on the front, and behind the bar, their product is displayed well along the exposed brick wall.

The new owners have definitely created an experience that exemplifies Main Street. Broken Tree is more than just a place to get coffee. It is a community gathering place, a place that ties different surrounding elements of the neighborhood together. The buildings to the side of Broken Tree Coffee have been converted into an art studio/gallery, and not just the mural on the side of the building connects the two, but the artwork on the walls on the inside also compliments the movement.

It’s been noted, that all around the country, the first thing that pops-up in rebounding neighborhoods is a coffee shop. Although there is already a Starbucks down the street and a restaurant with good coffee at One World in close proximity, Broken Tree Coffee is providing a different experience.

Also, a recent announcement that Leaves n’ Beans, another coffee shop, which has two other Peoria area locations will be opening along Main Street shortly. Competition is great, but too much may be more than what this area can handle right now. It does show the power of Main Street (and Main Street’s across the nation) as a new center of development. Mixed-use areas such as this can offer the live, work, play environment that so many places strive for. Buildings like this go to show that even though it sold shoes before, it can easily be transformed into a place for good coffee.

Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come for the area, but in the meantime, make sure to get in to Broken Tree Coffee and support your local business owners!

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