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Back in business: Lost Dog Coffee reopens with walk-up window

By Staff | Jul 31, 2020

Sisters Grace Eggleston and Vivian Eggleston, of Shepherdstown, look at Lost Dog Coffee's drink menu on July 23. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Lost Dog Coffee officially reopened on July 17, after choosing to close on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon after, the state gave its Stay at Home Order, forcing the rest of Shepherdstown’s nonessential businesses to close.

Over the next few months, Lost Dog Coffee was able to make ends meet by selling packaged tea leaves and coffee beans. But as the pandemic continued to stretch on, with no end in sight, owner Garth Janssen began thinking about the future of the 24-year-old shop, and how it could reopen after the state allowed in a social distancing-friendly way.

“[We are] embracing the lemons and making lemonade,” Janssen said. “We have come up with a plan that will give us the chance to adapt to this new evolving world.”

The plan involved a total renovation of the shop, including expanding its outdoor seating onto a patio behind the shop, building a small kitchen for crafting baked goods and changing the shop layout, so orders could be taken through a window facing German Street. Through the financial donations of 316 of the shop’s fans on a Go Fund Me page, which exceeded the page’s $20,000 goal by $501, the renovation was able to be completed.

“This is our fifth day open since March 12. It seems like this was the best thing that we could do, to get more business,” Janssen said on July 23, mentioning that he had a very successful opening weekend.

For sisters Grace Eggleston and Vivian Eggleston, of Shepherdstown, having the coffee shop to visit during their time home from college is a welcome treat.

“The main street businesses are always such a big part of being home,” Grace said, as she waited for her Mocha Smoothie to be made. “We come here fairly often.”

Waiting beside Grace for her Peanut Butter Chocolate Coffee Smoothie, Vivian said she and her sister had waited patiently over the previous months for the shop to reopen.

“We’ve been watching it being rebuilt,” Vivian said. “I’m glad they were able to find a way to do it safely.”

Currently, the shop, located at 134 East German Street, is helping its patrons social distance by only offering service at its walk-up window. A temporary drink menu is displayed on the window’s right shutter, and a iron-basket in front of the window holds a tip jar, to make tipping convenient and contact-free.

According to Janssen, the window and menu setup has increased his business’s visibility.

“It’s not just a sign on a sandwich board — it gets peoples’s attention that we’re here!” Janssen said.