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Downtown revival, popularity of coffee makes Espresso Bar concept timely for Waynesboro

Crystal Graham
Conceptual drawing of Kline's Espresso Bar
Conceptual drawing of Kline’s Espresso Bar

The popularity of coffee has grown over the last 15 years, and the owner of Kline’s Dairy Bar in Waynesboro has taken notice.

Coming in early fall, Kline’s will open an Espresso Bar in the lot behind the iconic ice cream shop on West Main Street.

Site work has already begun. Construction will take place this summer for the coffee and beverage drive thru.

When Kline’s opened its Waynesboro location in 2008, they sold coffee, but ultimately decided to focus on ice cream in part because of the struggle to open the shop for early-morning traffic.

In 2012, owner Kim Arehart purchased the vacant lot behind the dairy bar for the extra parking spaces for her customers. She wasn’t exactly sure what else to do with the space.

“I’ve had several ideas during this time,” Arehart said. “Most were not feasible due to the shape and size of the lot. Some ideas, like the Food Truck Rodeo, proved unsuccessful long term.

“My goal has been to find a concept that would complement my existing business and to retain extra space for overflow parking.”

Arehart also didn’t want the new business to interfere with heavy traffic at the ice cream shop – especially on busy summer nights.

“I kept coming back to an early-morning concept,” she said. “Demand and popularity for coffee, beverages and morning foods has grown significantly since I first tried it.”

The new shop will offer more than just coffee. Arehart said they plan to offer energy drinks, sodas, smoothies and coffee-inspired ice cream specialties. She said they will also offer small bites and a limited sandwich menu.

There will be a drive-thru window, a walk-up window and an outdoor patio for seating.

Arehart said the investment in Waynesboro makes sense due to the growth and development happening in the River City.

“We’re experiencing a revival of the downtown area, similar to Staunton and Harrisonburg’s resurgence,” she said.

“Small independent shops like Kline’s add variety and choices for residents,” Arehart said. “The more independent shops we have, the more unique our city becomes.

“It also helps the city fill an unattractive vacant space, generate tax revenue and provide jobs for our local citizens.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.