Wendy Fultz can say it with a smile, a cool confidence that this is the right thing to do for her and Cool Beans.
The eight-year owner of Cool Beans sold the cafe to Sherry Nelson.
“I can really say it now,” Fultz said. “It’s sold, and I couldn’t think of a better person to sell it to. She’s going to take it to the next level.”
That’s what Fultz tried to do — take the cafe to the next level from where it was when she bought it — and she feels it was accomplished. The coffee shop that sits below street level off West High Street is a cornerstone of the community, she said, one that is frequented at a frenzied pace.
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Fultz will continue to work at Cool Beans through June.
“Wendy’s done a great job, and I can learn a lot from her about all the ropes and input on my ideas,” Nelson said. “I’d really like to get more groups in to occupy the room where there is more seating available, give it a facelift, maybe change some hours and try to be open more evenings and explore opening on Sundays. We’ll also see how we can promote Cool Beans and Bellefonte in new ways.”
Nelson, who will keep the name Cool Beans and the menu, felt like she needed a shake-up.
“I was looking for a new adventure, and my husband and I saw it was for sale and it all kind of fell into place,” Nelson said. “So here we are today, closing on it. I’m ready for this. I’m really excited to put my touch on Cool Beans.”
Fultz will begin to train Nelson, who has been a regular customer since growing up in the area, to take over on April 25.
“I remember thinking my first day, ‘what did I do,’ ” Fultz said. “I remember feeling so isolated and so alone, and I don’t want her to ever feel that. Thankfully, our customers gave me a second chance after my first day. We won them over and we’re so thankful for that. Some people have said it won’t be the same, and I say they’re right, because Sherry will make it even better. I hope everyone embraces her and gives her a chance like they did for me.”
Fultz will also have something new to promote — a downtown Bellefonte boutique.
She will open Helen Foxx and Company, a women’s clothing boutique in an undecided location. Her partner in the new venture will be Joyce Mills, a three-year employee of Fultz’s. Mills previously owned an antique store in Pittsburgh.
The boutique will feature a mixture of classic styles and current trends to give the store a broad appeal. The business could also feature things like accessories, home goods and jewelry.
“We want everyone to feel and look good,” Mills said. “We as women like to feel good and look good, no matter our age or size. I think we want to particularly focus on customer service and take what we do here (to Helen Foxx and Company). When you come in you know we’re going to give you a personal experience where we get to know you. That is what will set us apart from the big box stores.”
“We want to make people feel loved and special and cherished,” Fultz added. “We want to make them feel treasured. Everyone should feel that way.”
The inspiration for Helen Foxx and Company, which could open this summer, was in part to conquer a new challenge and also to diversify Bellefonte’s business community.
“We have great restaurants and shops, and it’s important that we’re all great businesses,” Fultz said. “It’s also important that we’re all different to keep more people shopping in our little town and to bring more people here. We need a little more retail, and we’re going to offer that. We’re excited to add more dimension to Bellefonte.”