Call it a little divine intervention mixed with retirement topped off with a splash of hazelnut.
While you won’t be able to order up this concoction when Uptown Espresso opens Nov. 3, ask its owners and it was the perfect combination to fulfilling a lifetime dream.
Owners Nancy and Chuck Hallock said all the pieces to open Uptown fell into place in a matter of months after the couple decided to retire.
After a brief traveling stint, which included being ordained as ministers, the couple realized they wanted to keep working and give back to the community.
Now, two months after beginning renovations on what once was Fireside Espresso, Uptown’s crew of baristas is ready to begin serving up mochas, espresso, coffee, tea, along with organic smoothies beginning Wednesday.
The coffeehouse, at 612 N. Beeline Highway, once painted a vibrant red exterior color, is more muted in tans and greens. The new color palate better matches the Swiss Village Shops that stretch to the north of the café.
Inside, you’ll find a similar theme with eggplant sofas, wrought iron tables and chairs and bean bags.
Nancy said their goal was to create a warm, inviting space for all, as well as to serve the Lord.
“Although we are a coffeehouse, our main goal is to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He chooses. Prayer, healing for the sick and afflicted, food for the hungry, hope for the hopeless and biblical teaching on transformation and renewal of the mind and awesome coffee drinks and fresh organic food,” she said on the company’s Facebook wall.
The Hallocks plan to infuse the ministry throughout the coffeehouse, offering services on Sunday, youth outreach as well as prayer on Saturday in “healing rooms.”
“This is a ministry first to the community and a coffeehouse second,” Nancy said.
While the coffeehouse has a faith influence, it is open to all.
“All are welcome. Come as you are,” she said. “You don’t have to be ‘churched.’”
Almost 20 years ago, the Hallocks opened Pony Espresso, one of Payson’s first cafés.
The Hallocks owned Pony Espresso for two years before selling it off. Nancy explained they had always dreamed of opening another coffeehouse.
After selling the café, the Hallocks went on to own several businesses including Summit Screen Print and Embroidery. Summit was sold to Rick Korth, who owns Tonto Silk Screen and Embroidery.
Business free, the Hallocks decided to take one of their first vacations in 20 plus years.
The couple traveled around a few states, visiting friends and becoming ordained ministers.
“We had always been in the ministry part-time and decided to go full time,” Nancy said. “Besides, retirement didn’t seem to be all it was cracked up to be.”
When the Hallocks came back to Payson, they decided to couple the ministry with their dream of another café.
The name Uptown Espresso was chosen to symbolize an upbeat outlook on life.
“We have a really positive outlook and we hope it is contagious,” she said.
The coffeehouse will eventually offer fresh and organic sandwiches, soups and BBQ on the weekends.
Local artists, including photographer Chris Pajak, will display their work, which will also be for sale.
Kelsey Oakley, 16, said she plans to start a youth workshop with several friends once the coffeehouse opens.
Oakley will also serve on staff.
On Sundays, the café will close after 9 a.m. with services starting soon after in the coffeehouse’s meeting room.
To celebrate the coffeehouse’s opening on Wednesday, Zemer Levav will perform at 7 p.m. The band uses mid-east instruments, setting biblical lyrics to music with a Sephardic, Jewish flavor.
A Messianic dance workshop will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The coffeehouse will celebrate its official grand opening later in December.
Uptown Espresso will be open 6:35 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Sunday.