WILMINGTON — Tucked away in the trees just off Market Street sits an unassuming white stucco house that dates back to 1956. Over the years it has served as a veterinarian’s office, a car dealership, and of course a residence — but now it will be the home to Wilmington’s newest coffee shop and roastery, Casa Blanca.
Owner and founder Marissa Ruehle started working in coffee when she was 15 and has been in the industry ever since.
Casa Blanca isn’t your typical cookie-cutter coffee spot. Roasting of coffees will actually be taking place in the store and guests will be able to see how their coffee is made and learn a thing or two about the process.
“It’ll [the roastery room] be more of a workspace but we’ll have it open to the public so you will be able to see in here and see us roasting coffee most days of the week. We’re going to hold classes and things like that, most people that drink coffee have never seen coffee roasting,” Ruehle said.
It wasn’t so much a love of coffee that first got Ruehle into the business. When she was 15 and got her first job at Port City Java she went an entire year before even trying coffee, instead, it was more about learning.
“I started working in coffee the day I turned 15, my first job ever was at Port City Java I worked for them for about six-and-a-half years. Throughout that time I was traveling and showing up at coffee events all over the country and learning from anybody that would teach me. It kind of came more from being a workaholic than being a coffee lover,” she said.
A total makeover
The house itself sits on more than an acre of land on Market Street in Ogden and despite being on the busy corridor, chances are most people have driven by and never even seen it due to it being set so far back from the road.
Ruehle is hoping for a February opening provided everything goes according to plan with contractors and issuing of permits — but just getting to the point she is at now has been a challenge.
She first got her building permits approved over the summer and began the project of remodeling the former office space to suit her needs but Hurricane Florence had its own plans for Wilmington.
The storm led to delays in the project with contractors working on emergency efforts.
Everything from the stucco to the floors has been redone and the back patio will feature a fire pit when complete. Admittedly, she said it would have been cheaper to bulldoze the old building and just rebuild but that was not an option for her.
“When I got this building it was in pretty bad shape, it had been a couple of car lots before me and before that it was a veterinarian office so it had to be completely gutted … I am not a particularly emotional person I am more of a rational thought based person but before I was even in the front door I was completely giddy over it,” Ruehle said.
Casa Blanca can be found at 7409 Market Street, online and on Facebook.
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