SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Denise Parks didn't just change climates when she and her husband, Ken, moved to Charleston from Florida in 2009. She traded the computer and calculator she used in her administrative job in the construction industry for an espresso machine, coffee makers and steamers.
Today, Denise pours espresso, mixes flavored coffees and steams and froths milk at The Daily Cup, the coffee shop the Parks opened just behind the mound in South Charleston in September.
"We always wanted to have a coffee shop, but there are so many in Florida. The market there is saturated," she said. "We looked at several locations, but this is just the perfect spot, especially if you like to people watch."
Ken renovated the 1921 building, one of the oldest in South Charleston, into an inviting gathering space with bistro tables and bar stools. An ornate vault door opens into a storage area. The building was originally a bank, and most recently a store selling and assembling gift baskets. Walls divided the space into small, closed areas.
"We had to tear out the walls. We gutted it and started over. My husband did it all," said Denise. Ken operates a remodeling business called Comfortable Home Inc.
He built a counter to hold bakery display cases and coffee-making paraphernalia, added a small stage in one corner of the room and a bar along the floor-to-ceiling windows so patrons can sit and watch the world go by while they sip the coffee beverages.
"We wanted to create a comfortable place to hang out, where we could also have live music, that wasn't a bar," she said.
Friday evenings are Open Mic Night from 6 to 9 p.m. "Last week we had seven really good musicians," she said. "There was a lot of talent here that not many people know about."
She also displays local artists' work on her walls.
In addition to coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cider beverages, Parks sells a limited menu of baked goods, grilled breakfast and lunch sandwiches and soups. Her husband plans to add a full-service kitchen this summer, but for now, her makeshift kitchen consists of a crock pot and grill.