Springfield coffee shop Grab-A-Java plans to begin construction on a third location in the spring and intends to make the new store a prototype for expansion into other markets.
The new location will be at the southeast corner of Chatham Road and Monroe Street, kitty-corner from a Starbucks, but owner Bill Legge says he actually thinks that could be to his advantage. “I’ve done my own informal studies and there’s, on average, a 13-minute wait in the drive-thru,” he said, noting the cars often back up onto Monroe Street.
Bill and Vicky Legge purchased the iconic business in 2018 from Meg Evans and Peter Lazare, who had founded Springfield’s first drive-thru coffee shop more than two decades prior. Following the sale, the Legges also purchased the property right behind the 1702 S. Sixth St. location. “I wanted the garage for more storage and to set up a training bar for new staff, free from the distractions of the shop,” said Bill Legge. He temporarily moved the employees to the 3115 Hedley Road location while the South Sixth street shop was being remodeled.
Then in May 2020, a woman pulling a trailer hit the building on Hedley, which led to making some interior upgrades, in addition to repairing the damage. “Both of those stores are pretty well refreshed,” said Legge.
In August 2020, the Legges purchased a parcel of land at 300 Chatham Road. “It’s a weird piece of property, there’s a long sliver that is part of a flood plain. It’s not usable for a lot of folks, even though it’s a busy intersection,” said Legge. “With how small our buildings are, I’m able to position something there that works.”
Legge said he held off on moving forward immediately due to COVID, but at this point the architectural work, site work and engineering have been completed and the plan is to break ground in the spring as soon as weather permits. “We have the green light on everything we need, so the moment the temperature changes we can jump on it,” said Legge.
He also intends to use the new construction as an opportunity to perfect the prototype for a Grab-A-Java store, with an eye toward expansion. “Hopefully, I’ll nail down the footprint of what the store needs to be for when we look at expanding in other markets,” he said.
Right now, the Edwardsville area is on his radar. “There’s a lot of growth and expansion in area; there’s a good chance that will be the first city we go to,” Legge said. “We’d like to find an area where we could build three stores in a two-year time frame within a 30-mile radius.”