While waiting for his iced caramel double shot of espresso latte, Devin Pittinger sat down at the old Everett upright piano and played a little of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Two young men were having a conversation and cheeseburgers on the patio outside.
A businesswoman was talking on her cell phone, sitting in the sunshine, perhaps making a sale.
And so it went on a Friday afternoon at Something Brewing, Conway’s first coffee house, which opened in 1999 and is still going strong.
The appeal to all kinds of folks, says owner Larry Eoff, is good food, good prices and good service.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, were always fans of coffee houses and made the trek to Little Rock often.
"It wasn’t long after we talked about opening a coffee house that we saw a for rent sign on our building (at the corner of Mill and Front streets in Downtown Conway)," Eoff said.
Built in 1908, it was Robin’s Grocery, a mom and pop business until about 1980. The owners lived on one side.
The Eoffs gave themselves a year to prepare for opening, and that’s what it took. They haven’t stopped working since.
They have been successful at attracting customers.
Students like the live music on some weekends and the poster-filled wall space where student art is exhibited.
Business folks like it, too, catching a late breakfast, making a deal on the phone or e-mailing clients on the free wifi.
Employees are happy to work there, too, with most staying on the job for a year or more, a good accomplishment for part-time students.
Eoff said competition is tough in their field. When another restaurant opens, their business drops off for a month or so. Then the loyal customers come back.
The couple’s formula for success is working so well that they opened a coffee shop inside the Hewlett-Packard call center soon after its opening, and on Wednesday, they opened a coffee and pastry shop inside Conway Regional Medical Center.
They’ll have a grand opening celebration at the hospital soon.
"We’ve been very lucky," Eoff said. "But we’ve worked very hard."
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-1234.)