Center Coffee House is first step in ‘walkable community’

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — It was a perfect day to have a grand opening for a coffee shop.
    Chamber of Commerce members and well-wishers packed the Center Coffee Shop for its official grand opening on Nov. 19, a blustery day with temperatures in the 20s and a biting northwesterly wind.

NE-ColorCenterCoffee-DC-PO-48Observer photo/Mike Lange

    CENTER COFFEE HOUSE GRAND OPENING — Customers and several Chamber of Commerce members participated in the official grand opening of the Center Coffee House with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 19. Pictured, from left, are employee Moe Drouin, Matt Spooner, Rusty Willette, employee Nina Rohdin, Dan Sharrow, Chamber Executive Director Denise Buzzelli, owner Lori Sharrow, John Glover, Sherry French, Will Wedge, State Rep. Norman Higgins, Chamber President Christopher McGary and Scott Moulton.

    Customers were treated with free coffee from 8-9 a.m. while they mingled and praised the new shop in the former box office of the Center Theatre in downtown Dover-Foxcroft. “When I lived in North Cambridge (Mass.), I walked everywhere. I didn’t own a car for years because I didn’t need one,” said owner Lori Sharrow. “Hopefully, Dover-Foxcroft will be the same way in a few years.”
    “I’m really proud of my wife,” said Dan Sharrow. “This was her concept – her baby. I just helped it along and I’m happy she has her own business.”
    Center Coffee House keeps its menu simple: fresh-roasted coffee, cappuccino, lattes and expresso; fruit smoothies, hot chocolate and baked goods from Stutzman’s Farm in Sangerville. For lunch, they also have homemade soups on the menu.
    Denise Buzzelli, executive director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce, echoed Lori Sharrow’s confidence in seeing Dover-Foxcroft turn into a “walkable community.”
    She noted the tendency of teens to be “looking down at their smartphones and iPads, not wanting to go anywhere or do anything. But by making this a walkable community with places to go and something to do, things will turn around for Dover-Foxcroft.”
    Buzzelli compared the local economy to a blanket of snow. “Everything looks kind of quiet and dead for part of the year,” she said. “But that snow is actually preparing the soil for beautiful things coming in the spring. I feel that we’ve just been under a blanket as a town. But I can’t help but feel that those wonderful things being cultivated under that blanket will bloom someday.”
    Sharrow noted that one steady stream of customers comes from the workers at the nearby Riverfront Development Project where a former manufacturing plant is being transformed into retail space and 22 spacious apartments.
    Then there are the regulars like Rusty Willette. “I started coming over here when I was getting my car served at the garage across the street,” he said. “Now I come here a lot. The coffee is delicious and the staff is wonderful.”
    Barista Moe Drouin said that Lori and Dan Sharrow “are wonderful to work for. They really care about their community.”
    Hours are Monday through Thursday 6:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Friday, 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Visit them at or find them on Facebook.

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