A new White Hall business has been well-received after a surprise opening this week.
The Coultas and Nell families have come together to open Brantzel’s coffee & ice cream shop in the home of the former Goben Auto Parts building at 101 South Main Street. The coffee shop retains the original name of the business that started as Brantzel’s General Store in 1875.
After a complete renovation of the building, co-owner Kelsey Nell says that the idea for the business began between the two families in an effort to create opportunities and spur positivity in the White Hall community: “Through Covid, we learned that you don’t have to go to big cities to have a good paying job. You can live in these rural communities and work remotely. However, we have to have amenities to get people back here. That’s really what kind of got the ball rolling. We thought that if we were going to be back here, how are we going to be the positive change. We are all going about that a number of ways. We are all super-involved in the local community. We kind of ran into a few roadblocks along the way trying [to be that positive change] in a non-profit way. We said, ‘Somebody just needs to put their money where their mouth is’ on this type of thing. The Goben’s [building] was up for sale. It sold to somebody else, and the [new owners] weren’t really doing anything with it. It was just going to be another dilapidated building. So, we actually found out who the owner was and contacted them asking if they would be interested in selling it to us. We asked them what their plan was for the building. We ended up touring it and bought the building…We want a place that’s makes community. We want to help change the trajectory of our town, and we want it to be a place that people are proud of. We want to highlight the good.”
Nell says that she hopes the business is a bright light to others who may have ideas and ambitions for a small business in the northern Greene County area to open and work there. She also says that it may help to help possibly spur people to return from being away like she and her husband did a few years ago to raise their family back in their hometown.
Nell says that they received a lot of naysayers along the way, but so far, the business has been greatly supported by the community: “Flash forward to us opening [on Tuesday]. We kind of pulled the surprise attack, and we weren’t sure that strategy could do it. We were afraid to announce our opening so far in advance because we didn’t want to overwhelm our staff. That’s why we just kind of did it. We knew it was coming up, but on Tuesday, we just flipped the sign. And…holy smokes! Our question the whole time was ‘Would anybody support this?’ because we had a lot of people along the way say ‘You’ll never get the support’ etc. We’ve been blown away. We cannot keep up with all of the people coming in. We’ve gone through everything. We’re running to Edwardsville for more coffee [from Goshen Coffee Roasters]. We’re sending family for more milk. It’s a great problem to have.”
A grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, May 6th with live music from 9AM-Noon. The normal hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 6AM-9PM, Fridays 6AM-10PM, Saturdays 7AM-10PM, and Sundays 7-9AM.
Nell says that more special events are coming in the future as well as a full banquet room. The next project for the location is renovating an apartment above the coffee shop to have an overnight stay option for people visiting the county overnight for family events.