Kate Johnson, owner of Bean and Brush, a creative coffee shop recently opened in the old “Gillie Jewelry Store” building. Johnson provides delicious coffee along with baked goods and a single lunch special. (Enterprise Photo)
By Linda Andersen
“Surreal, exciting, scary,” are words Kate Johnson used to describe her feelings on Tuesday, Feb. 20, just three days before the Friday, Feb. 23rd opening of her coffee shop/art space, Bean & Brush, a project she’s been working on “just over a year.”
Johnson estimated that it has been “10 to 20” years since the building she choose on 2nd Street in Hallock had been used. She explained that it was first occupied by two different banks, and then by Sjostrand Jewelry, followed by Gillie Jewelry.
“I have always loved art and what it does within our community. It’s always better with a cup of coffee,” she said in explaining why she is opening her business.
“I wouldn’t call myself an artist, but I enjoy creating things,” Johnson added. She particularly enjoys crocheting, painting, and sketching.
Asked who would be on her staff, she responded, “Just me.” She’ll be owner, manager, cook, baker, and more.
“My husband can help here and there and others have said they’ll help,” she explained. Her husband is Rev. Frank Johnson who pastors Grace and Red River Lutheran Churches. She and Frank have a three-year-old daughter, Natalie.
“We’re trying to keep things as simple as we can…We’re keeping our inventory small – that way we can keep food fresh,” she said.
The menu may be small, but the food and drinks sound yummy. Just a few of the possibilities include beef stew, grilled cheese and tomato soup, turkey panini with cheddar cheese and granny smith apple, muffins, scones, espresso drinks, lattes, cappuccinos, chai tea, and freshly ground coffee.
Bean & Brush offers one lunch special daily.
The coffee beans come from Wollman Roasters of Bemidji. “We’ll be grinding our own beans and brewing it fresh…We make each cup of coffee by hand,” explained Johnson.
“We want to be really in tune to families,” she said, indicating that Bean & Brush will have a kid’s area where children can enjoy such activities as coloring, playing with toys, and doing crafts.
Plans for classes are “still developing,” but Johnson would like her business to offer such cultural activities as arts and crafts classes, lectures, and readings by authors.
A graduate of Luther Seminary, Johnson is a former youth minister and as recently as 2017 served as pastor of three churches in the Alvarado/Oslo area. On the subject of any link between her former and new career, Johnson said she’s always been interested in the connection between faith and art. “It (art) connects us with something larger than ourselves.”
Both of Johnson’s career paths run in the family. Her parents were “small business owners” but, shortly before Johnson went to seminary, her father made a career switch and became a minister. He currently pastors a church in Harvey, N.D.
Speaking of the future of Bean & Brush, Johnson stated, “I’m sure it will continue to evolve and change.”
Those changes will come as she listens “to what other people want and stays tuned to people’s needs.”
Bean & Brush is open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (a chess club meets Tuesday evenings), Wednesday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.