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Downtown coffee shop another COVID casualty

 

September 3, 2020

-Chronicle photo

Shut down since March, Rey's Roast Coffee Shop at 242 E. Main Street, served its last cup of "Roasted In Dayton • Brewed In Dayton" coffee last week. Regina Weldert's age, 12-foot wide storefront and dwindled business were factors in the decision to close.

DAYTON–A local downtown establishment, well known regionally and with a fan base that stretches from coast to coast, has closed, buckling under coronavirus pressures. But take heart, coffee aficionados, the coffee will still be roasted locally and be available.

Regina Weldert's Rey's Roast Coffee Shop, at 242 E. Main Street since May, 2016, has been closed since March, for the most part, Weldert, 79, said this week. Friday, August 28 was her last day brewing coffee, and there were only a handful of cups sold.

"I could've stayed open but I couldn't do the six-foot distance, and at my advanced age, I had to weigh the risks," Weldert said, at the storefront that is only 12 feet from wall to wall. She is also considering fully retiring at some point in the future.

In addition, sales amounted to just six or seven cups a day, Weldert said. "It was not worth me sitting here."

Coronavirus-prevention restrictions also didn't permit coffee drinkers to languish in the shop "and that's what they wanted to do," Weldert said. "It wasn't quite working out that way."

Weldert will still roast coffee at the Blue Mountain Station location, and sell it at the Co-op, Elk Drug, Locally Nourished Café, Ten Ton Press in Waitsburg and online.

Her coffee is shipped coast to coast. Tourists and people driving through Dayton stop for a cup and become regular purchasers, no matter where they live. One cross-country bicyclist proclaimed Rey's Roast the best cup of coffee he had in the United States, Weldert said.

"It has always been a pleasure to have a business in Dayton," she said. "There's a wonderful bunch of folks here. I love this business and it breaks my heart that this is happening. That's why it's taken me so long to get out of this building. It has been my pleasure to serve coffee to Dayton."

Weldert started roasting coffee as a hobby in retirement, selling her first pound of coffee out of her garage in College Place in October, 2013. Rey's Roast was one of Blue Mountain Station's earliest tenants, establishing the roasting center in April, 2014, four months after it opened. Very quickly, Mandy Wendt adopted Rey's coffees to serve in the Weinhard Café, Weldert said. "Her and I have a great relationship with her serving great coffee ever since," she said.

 
 

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