Hermosa Coffee House opens

Ron Burtz

Valena Baker thought about starting a coffee shop in Hermosa for a long time, but the recent growth boom in the community finally convinced her to pull the trigger. The result is Hermosa Coffee House which opened this summer at 13 Second Street just a half block off Main and down the hill from Hermosa Historical Museum.
Baker had been hoping someone would open a coffee shop in the eastern Custer County community for the past decade or so and then seven or eight years ago decided to do it herself.
But, after scouting locations for several years, she wondered if she could afford to do so. The growth of the community over the past year finally caused her and husband, Larry, to move ahead with the plan, reasoning that she would be devastated if someone else opened one and she had never gotten around to it.
Earlier this year the couple began extensive renovations to the rented building most recently occupied by El Restaurante’ Hermosa and, after a one-day soft opening “practice run” July 31 for family and friends, Hermosa Coffee House officially opened Monday, Aug. 2. It has been full speed ahead ever since.
Open for walk-in or dine-in service from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday, the shop offers a wide menu of coffee drinks, fountain drinks and smoothies, as well as breakfast sandwiches, pastries and baked goods.
Making her own flavored cream cheese spreads and cooking the eggs on site, Baker’s sandwich offerings include either a bagel or English muffin with egg and sausage or bacon. Customers may choose from three varieties of homemade cream cheese spread including bacon scallion.
The coffee house also offers oatmeal with a variety of toppings, which Baker said comes out of a desire to serve “something for the kids heading off to school.”   
She makes her own caramel and caramel pecan rolls and has recently been experimenting with making mini fruit pies and mini quiches. Baker enjoys the challenge and tries out her experiments on family and friends.
The building doesn’t have a drive-though window, but Baker hopes to start offering curbside service. There’s plenty of room for diners inside, however, (about 33) and the shop offers free WiFi.
Asked how the community has responded to the new business, Baker said the response has been positive with moms, dads and kids stopping in before school and work and students walking the two blocks to Hermosa School from there. She said the only complaint she has heard is that the shop needs more signage to help customers find it.
The coffee house has turned into a family project with daughters Madilyn, 12, and Maya, 11, helping out when they can.
The Bakers’ commitment to the Hermosa community goes back a long way. Valena and Larry, who is a Custer Board of Education member, attended Hermosa School together since second grade.

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