By Daniel Silliman
The walls are painted goldenrod, the wooden chairs are decorated with cut-outs of stylized steaming cups, and the place smells like coffee.
After the Monday morning rush of coffee-drinking commuters, with the sun streaming in through the windows, Dennis and Santoshia Oggs sat down to talk about their newly opened coffee shop, Jonesboro's The Coffee Spot.
"We wanted to have an environment where you're going to want to sit down," said Santoshia. "It's warm. It's inviting. It's a place where you want to sit for a while and chat with your friends."
The Coffee Spot, at 10249 Tara Boulevard, between Tara Road and South Main Street, will have its grand opening on Saturday, March 1, with live Jazz. But the county's newest independently owned and operated coffee shop is already humming along, serving up low-priced coffee, fresh bagels and pastries, and a good-sized portion of cheery atmosphere.
Already, according to Dennis, the spot is catering to campaign coffee chats, students studying and using the free wireless Internet, and weekly adult Bible studies.
"We just want to be open to the community," he said. "We're here for the community and we're going to be a common name in Clayton County."
Dennis said he loves coffee and has been thinking and dreaming about owning his own coffee shop for about 10 years. Coffee, he said, has been a big part of the Oggs' life.
They met over coffee at Fort Stuart, in Hinesville, Ga., when they were both in the Army, and started talking about dreams of owning a coffee shop on their third date.
Today, Dennis is a retired sergeant major, and has given up tanks for lattes, camouflage for a yellow apron. Santoshia, a captain managing finances at Fort Gillem, said they have been planning the shop for about two years, figuring out how they were going to bring their military management experience, commitment to public service and love for coffee under one roof.
They have contracted with Seattle's Best Coffee, and are serving the Washington State company's brew, keeping the prices low and the quality high. A small coffee costs $1.35 and the most expensive drink on the menu comes in under $3.
They've put their savings into The Coffee Spot and taken out some loans, Santoshia said.
"We really believe in what we're doing," she said. "We did a lot of market research, but I also just asked, 'What would I like, as a consumer, what would I like to see?'"
The Coffee Spot is open from 5:30 a.m., to 10 p.m., during the week, from 6 a.m., to 10 p.m., on Saturdays and from 7 a.m., to 9 p.m., on Sundays.