Colonial Cafe takes over as only coffee shop in Mount Holly's downtown area
Jarrad Daniel Saffren | Burlington County Times MOUNT HOLLY — For over two years, Breaking Grounds Coffee & Cafe was the only independent coffee shop in...
- Rahul Chugh
- Nov 26, 2020
MOUNT HOLLY — For over two years, Breaking Grounds Coffee & Cafe was the only independent coffee shop in town.
But in October, new owners took over the lease on the 14 White Street location and transformed it into...another coffee shop.
It makes perfect sense, according to the owners, Frank Stimiloski and Albert Aiola. Mount Holly residents loved Breaking Grounds and are already patronizing the new coffee shop, the Colonial Cafe, as well.
"It's not Starbucks," said Jeffrey Reeve, the township's housing inspector and a Colonial Cafe regular. "It's reasonably priced and it's actually good coffee."
The closest coffee shops to White Street, and main street Mount Holly in general, are a Dunkin' on Rancocas Road and a Starbucks in neighboring Lumberton.
But in Mount Holly, residents enjoy their vibrant downtown area, according to Colonial Cafe Manager Caiti Hodor, also a township resident.
Stimiloski and Aiola, who own a commercial and residential real estate company, signed the lease for 14 White Street on Oct. 25. They had their rebranded coffee shop up and running within three days, Aiola said.
They changed the name to better align with the colonial era building's old-time feel and because they weren't continuing Breaking Grounds' nonprofit mission of employing people with disabilities. Though the new owners have retained "some" Breaking Grounds employees, they said.
"It was loosely turnkey," Aiola said.
Breaking Grounds closed in the spring during the initial COVID shutdown, but was unable to overcome the three-month lull in business.
Aiola and Stimiloski, with their for-profit business and healthy cash flow, were ideal suitors to take the place over and weather the rest of the pandemic, they said. Despite their already steady customer base, the owners are confident that the full return of social life will expand their base even more.
In the coming years, their plan is to do what Breaking Grounds did: use their profit margins to expand the menu, and become a true "cafe." Eventually, the menu will include several different breakfast sandwich options as well as light lunch fare, like paninis. It already features avocado toast, said Hodor.
"The owners are awesome," Hodor added. "If you suggest something, they are like, 'Let's do it.'"
During the pandemic, the small cafe can only host about a handful of people, in accordance with the state's 25 percent capacity rule for indoor establishments. But once the pandemic subsides, it will be able to really grow into the downtown area's coffee/Internet/hangout hub.
"Relax, have coffee, work on your computer," Aiola said. "Take your time."
A local news and sports reporter around Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 2015, Jarrad Daniel Saffren joined The Burlington County Times’ award-winning local news team in October 2019, adding business, education and town government features to the coverage. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @JarradSaff. Please help support local journalism with a subscription to The Burlington County Times
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