Business owner brews up new shop in Philipsburg

The new Coffee Corner, opening Sunday in Philipsburg’s Peebles Plaza, uses fresh coffee beans and sells baked goods from local farms.
The new Coffee Corner, opening Sunday in Philipsburg’s Peebles Plaza, uses fresh coffee beans and sells baked goods from local farms. CDT photo

All good things must come to an end.

And, in one instance, a business owner will try to re-create a spark in the same space that he shut down a restaurant.

Bill Cocolin owned the KFC in Philipsburg since 2009, one that his brother opened in 1998. The doors closed June 13 to make way for The Coffee Corner, Cocolin’s first dive into a non-franchised venture. The coffee shop will have its grand opening 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will give free coffee to the first 25 people through the doors and hold prize drawings for things like gift cards and baskets.

“It was a combination of things,” Cocolin, who owns KFCs in Clearfield and Mansfield, said. “KFC was a franchise, and we did things sometimes that weren’t in the best interest of our customers. They do the same thing everywhere regardless of the community they’re in. We felt something else could be more viable in the community, something we could do on our own. After some research, we felt this would be a good fit.”

Cocolin, with the help of cafe manager Aimee Gardner, designed the coffee shop to give the space a completely different taste.

“I was trying to create something with an atmosphere that if you finished your coffee you could feel comfortable sitting here a little bit longer instead of just leaving,” Cocolin added. “Here we have free Wi-Fi, a TV that we can put the news or other things on. The town needed something like this.”

The Coffee Corner started off small, quietly opening Oct. 7.

Cocolin sources coffee beans from State College-based W.C. Clarke’s and pastries from a local Amish farmer. He said more options will be added to the menu.

“We didn’t want to jump into too much until we got a really good feel for what the community really wants,” he said.

The community, as it turns out, wants Spider-Man for the grand opening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Coffee Corner tallied votes placed at its counter during its first two weeks of business to decide which superhero would don its costume at the grand opening.

The gesture, Cocolin and Gardner said, reflects what they want the new business to be about.

“It’s a thing mostly for the kids that come that day, but it’s really about our attitude and us wanting to give people what they want and not what we think they want,” Gardner said. “When we decided on the coffee shop we had gotten feedback on what people wanted. Basically, in a nutshell, that’s what they said they didn’t already have.”