Courthouse Coffee new sign of life in downtown Xenia

When Xenia’s newest business on Main Street is open, they are ‘in session’ offering legal-themed libations such as misdemeanor mint mocha, or Bonnie and Clyde Raspberry Redemption.

Or you can simply order a good cup of java at Courthouse Coffee, which opened earlier this month in the same first-floor space as Parker’s General Store and Ralph’s Antiques, at 29 E. Main Street.

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The coffee shop, located across from the historic Greene County Courthouse, is the latest business to pop-up in the downtown area. The owner, Greg Bernitt, is also the property owner and he is working to bring new life to three historic buildings.

Bernitt said he initially had someone lined up to start the coffee shop, but when that fell through, he didn’t want to wait.

“I thought a coffee shop was needed. To me, it’s the perfect alignment with Parker’s General Store,” Bernitt said.

Bernitt takes a unique approach to being a landlord. He allows businesses located in the same building to share costs for utilities and rent and encourages owners to share resources.

“The model for this business is complementary businesses working together to bring new life to Xenia,” he said.

The approach makes a lot of sense to Mindy Harney, a barista at Courthouse Coffee who formerly owned and operated an espresso shop in Yellow Springs.

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“When you’re working at a small business like this and you’re growing customer by customer, there’s a challenge there,” Harney said. “You don’t have corporation’s advertising dollars. But if you bring different entities together and pool those resources, they can go a lot further.”

Courthouse Coffee offers a variety of cold and hot coffee drinks, fruit smoothies as well as muffins and scones. In the few weeks since it opened, Parker’s General Store owner Parker Surls is already seeing more customers coming through the doors.

Surls described his store as a mix of Amish, health- and bulk-food stores, where you can buy locally-produced honey and hot sauces as well as flour, sugar and other cooking-from-scratch necessities.

“The coffee shop seems to complement my business and the type of people who would be interested in both really good, gourmet, organic coffees and the type of products I sell here,” Surls said.

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Bernitt said he hopes in the future someone will take over the coffee business and he can go back to focusing on rehabilitating his buildings and bringing in new businesses.

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