While getting ready to send her youngest child off to college, Vicki Harry and a friend joked about opening a coffee shop. Harry later recounted the conversation to her husband, certain that he would laugh it off.
“He thought it was a great idea,” Harry said.
Six months later, in January 2013, Harry was hanging out a shingle for Thanks A Latte in Holly Springs.
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Thanks A Latte is a family business. Both of Harry’s adult daughters work there. The shop is on a quaint side street of Main Street Square, a mixed-use development.
Inside, coffee is just one piece of the business. The front half of the space is a gift shop with a little bit of everything, from Lily and Laura bracelets to local college decor. It has a shabby chic feel, inviting customers to browse before making their way to the coffee bar in the back. That’s where patrons go to relax in the tufted wingback chairs and sofas after selecting a drink from the chalkboard menu.
A trio of chandeliers hang near the register.
“It’s kind of girly,” Harry concedes.
“We were in New York City for a home show before we opened,” she said. “My husband said ‘We’re just here to look, not buy.’”
That was before the couple happened upon a booth that was priced to sell.
“We bought the entire booth,” she said. “We stayed three extra days packing pallets to be shipped home.”
In the end, they decorated Thanks A Latte in one fell swoop.
Harry settled on Larry’s Beans in Raleigh as her source for coffee. It was through classes at Larry’s that she was trained in the intricacies of serving coffee.
“They’ve been awesome,” she said.
There was also a lot of informal testing before settling on the right recipes.
“We invited all our friends and made them try everything,” she said. “It took lots of milk and coffee to get it right.”
The menu at Thanks A Latte has a decidedly Southern accent with its Southern Belle, Honey Bee and Sweetheart lattes. Along with the usual offerings, Harry regularly adds seasonal drinks. Smoothies used to be summer-only, but she is bowing to her customers’ wishes and will soon add them to the permanent lineup. Snacks from Stick Boy Bread Company in Fuquay-Varina are also available.
Local groups often gather around the rustic tables. Real-estate agents use the area to meet with clients.
“A Bible study meets here on Tuesday mornings,” Harry said.
She relies on her daughters, ages 22 and 23, to help her keep on top of what’s popular.
“We try to keep up with the trends,” she said, noting that they spend a lot of time browsing Instagram for inspiration.
Harry, who lives in Apex, is pleased with her choice of location.
“Holly Springs is really growing. People love that this is a local coffee shop,” she said. “We had our customer base before the chains started moving in.”
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About Thanks A Latte
Location: 118 Kentworth Drive, Holly Springs
Contact: 919-285-3729; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday