Getting a ‘fresh start’
Have no fear, the chicken-bacon-ranch panini is here to stay.
And so are all of the other staple items at Benjamin’s Coffeehouse, located at 49 E. Court St., despite new ownership of the Franklin bakery and coffeehouse.
When news broke that Benjamin’s would be available for purchase last spring, Franklin resident Rick Stevens jumped on the opportunity.
“He came in and said to me, ‘I’m buying a coffee shop,’” said Angie Stevens, Rick Stevens’ wife and Franklin College alumna.
The former milkman of 17 years was third in line for the sale of the coffeehouse. The decision to purchase the shop came easy for Rick Stevens, whose daughter, McKaylee, is a pastry chef.
“She’s always said she wanted to open up a bakery, so when we found out Benjamin’s was available, we thought it would be perfect to get started,” Angie Stevens said.
Two potential buyers were in line to purchase the business, but the sale did not go through, giving Rick Stevens the opportunity to finalize the sale.
Since Aug. 10, the Stevens family has operated the business at full capacity and, despite the challenges that accompany store management, Rick Stevens said Benjamin’s is running very smoothly.
Jay Shively, the business’ previous owner, stayed behind to help Rick Stevens and his family learn the basics behind running Benjamin’s.
“They’ve been really good about training us on how to take over,” Angie Stevens said. “They stayed behind and told us to tell them when we were ready for them to transition out. It was a quicker transition than we thought.”
Everything came with the purchase—the name, recipes, content and furniture—both Rick and Angie Stevens said they appreciated the most.
“We knew everyone was familiar with Benjamin’s,” Angie Stevens said. “There’s a big following of Benjamin’s, so there was no way we were going to change the name. We were glad they allowed us to keep Benjamin’s.”
Customers can prepare to see additional items on the menu, including cake from McKaylee Stevens. Rick Stevens said he hopes to renovate the existing building, placing new carpet and giving the shop a seaside-feel to incorporate his daughter’s dream of owning a bakery near the ocean.
Senior Adrianna Patterson has worked at Benjamin’s for more than two years, working under the previous management and now for Rick Stevens.
Before coming back to work at the store following summer break, Patterson admits she was nervous that it would become a different business.
“I was very happy to hear that the shop had been sold,” Patterson said. “I felt the Shivelys needed a fresh start and that the business needed someone to come in and work to build the business.”
Patterson has played a key role in helping Rick Stevens complete day-to-day tasks and train new employees.
“I truly love Benjamins,” Patterson said. “This place feels like home to me. I feel like I’m in my element when I am here. I want this business to succeed and I want all of our customers to love it again as much as I do.”
Benjamin’s Coffeehouse is opened Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.