Sidney native Melissa Beers is brewing up a second career in Norwich.
In early 2021, Beers, who owns Teasers Hair & Nail Studio in Norwich, took over Deja Brew, a coffee shop across the street at 12 South Broad St.
“After COVID, when (the salon) opened back up, a new person had bought the coffee shop and was looking to get rid of it,” Beers said. “With times like this, I didn’t know if anyone was going to purchase it and I knew my customers would enjoy it, so I put an offer in, he accepted and I reached out to my sister, (Jamie), who’s had restaurant experience for 20-plus years, and said, ‘How would you like to run a coffee shop?’”
Deja Brew, Beers said, opened about three years ago, with the previous owner running it for about eight months before Beers took over in February.
Items at Deja Brew, Beers said, cover the classics, contemporary favorites and special dietary needs.
“Our coffee is Yaucono and it is actually imported directly from Puerto Rico,” she said. “It’s good, Spanish coffee and one of Puerto Rico’s most iconic brands of coffee, so that draws people in. People tell me it’s really smooth and rich.
“We have hot drinks, which include espresso, cappuccino, macchiato, your flat whites … and we also offer hot chocolate with a nice frother that makes the best hot chocolate,” Beers continued. “For cold drinks, we have iced coffee and cold brew; tea and lemonade; chai lattes — that’s a huge thing, hot or cold; frozen apple cider and frozen lemonade; frappes and we just started doing bubble teas. Pretty much anything you ask for, we’ll make. We do have nondairy milk options and gluten-free options … and we have 65 different flavor shots and offer 15 sugar-free shots; that’s a huge draw, because a lot of places don’t have that.”
Customers, Beers said, are also enjoying Deja Brew’s baked goods.
“Our coffee shop sells Long Island bagels as well as Brooklyn cheesecake, and that stuff comes from downstate,” she said. “Right now, we sell desserts — tiramisu, carrot cake, red velvet, chocolate — and we’re going to have a grab ‘n’ go menu soon with premade sandwiches, fruit salads, tossed salads and paninis. That’s coming by June 1.
“And we do sell pastries — half-moon cookies from Holland Farms Bakery (& Deli) in Utica, which is a well-known place to get them from, and whoopie pies from Geddes (Bakery & Pastry Shop) in Syracuse,” Beers continued. “We pretty much go to other places to bring their great stuff to our customers, so we can share with our locals.”
Beers said, while the salon’s patrons and proximity have provided Deja Brew with “a built-in clientele,” customers represent a mix.
“I’ve been in Norwich and owned the salon for 20 years, so I have a following … that has followed and supported me, so (Deja Brew) is busier because I have that extra following,” she said. “We do offer a discount — a ‘brew and a ‘do’ — where, if someone is getting their hair done, they get a coupon for 20% off, and that’s definitely drawn people.
“But I would say it’s definitely your morning and lunch crowd and people who work in the area,” Beers continued. “Norwich is like Oneonta; there’s a lot of draw and people that drive to work — we have Chobani and Norwich Pharmaceuticals — so there’s a lot of big corporations. And the demographic in Norwich is a lot of folks that grew up (in) or are from (Long) Island, so there’s a lot of people coming in saying, ‘Oh, my God. I used to live on the island and haven’t had these bagels in forever.’”
Beers said she’s got expansion ideas percolating.
“When we’re allowed to open a little more, I want to do coffeehouse-type open-mic nights or poetry readings or someone playing guitar with an artist,” she said. “We’re definitely looking forward to that and extending hours for summer; we’re hoping to be open until 6 o’clock on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
Beers said a Deja Brew website is also coming soon.
For more information, find “Deja Brew” on Facebook, call 607-373-3839 or follow @dejabrewnorwichny on Instagram.
Deja Brew is open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 to 3 on Saturday; and 8 to 2, Sunday.