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Lost Dog Celebrates An Anniversary

By Staff | Apr 27, 2015

Almost two decades ago Garth Janssen walked past the space at 134 East German street and said “that would make a cute little coffee bar.”

Nineteen years later Janssen and his team of “alchemist” baristas are celebrating another year of bringing Lost Dog’s unique coffeehouse experience to Shepherdstown.

“Things just fell together,” he said.

Now a staple and living representation of the town its grown up in, Janssen said Lost Dog’s magic formula has always been its eagerness to work in collaboration with and in service to the community.

“we’re pretty proud of what’s developed here. I take little to no credit for it. It’s kind of like a community project,” he said.

“It’s almost like people aren’t really buying into the product they’re consuming. They’re buying into keeping the space alive.”

Janssen said Lost Dog is truly a community space for locals to use it as they wish.

“It gives people a place to feel a part of ownership in the community,” he said.

Admittedly alternative, Janssen said the Lost Dog has resisted what’s become commonplace for modern coffeehouse’s to survive. Instead of becoming a dual coffee shop and cafe, Janssen said Lost Dog can stake its good fortune on a vast and unusual array of teas and specialty drinks, not found other places.

“This coffeehouse would not be here without tea.”

Janssen said he can’t even imagine what the future will hold for Lost Dog, but he knows he wants to continue to make the sort innovations characteristic of the shop.

Now cultivating their own chai extracts, Janssen said he sees retail/wholesale distribution of that product as part of the long term goal for Lost Dog.

“Our chai is so different,” he said.

As it stands, Lost Dog baristas are charged daily with the task of experimenting and creating their own signature drinks. There’s no menu board at Lost Dog, besides its well known favorites.

“We can make anything basically that you can order in any coffeehouse anywhere,” he said.

“Learning never stops.”

Janssen said quentissential Lost Dog favorites like the Vanilla Wet Dog- the mix of espresso and soda water and cream, have happened by chance.

“That was a blundering accident,” Janssen said.

A chance moment leading to unexpected discovery, is the core of the Lost Dog story.

Janssen recalled landing in West Virginia when the family dog got lost near Potts Valley, during a road trip across the country.

Janssen said it was this seemingly innocuous event that set the course for the rest of his life.

“None of this would have ever happened everything shifted.”

Janssen would follow his mother to settle in Shepherdstown years later and today, Lost Dog has seen Shepherdstown “move from analog to digital,” in what he’s called a “humbling experience.”

To find more information about Lost Dog coffee visit their web site at www.lostdogcoffee.com.