By Chelsea Pardue
May 30, 2012. Josiah Davis is a self-proclaimed idea factory. While his ideas range from art galleries to coffee shops, they all have one thing in common: community. With Davis’ newest idea, a doughnut and coffee shop right in the heart of Boone, he hopes embrace the community in a way that will benefit everyone.
“I’ve been a Boone local my whole life, and so I love the community here,” he said. “We’re in a central location, so I really want to be a community place. I’d really like to have a getting things done atmosphere where people stir creativity up with each other, think well and enjoy each other.”
Davis’ idea for the shop started about 10 months ago. First he began looking for doughnut equipment, but he soon realized that equipment to make yeast doughnuts would cost almost $150,000. He didn’t have the money, so he gave up on the idea.
Six months later, Davis was on Craigslist when he saw doughnut equipment for sale in Roan Mountain, Tenn. The equipment could make any type of doughnut and was reasonably priced. Davis revived his idea and went to Tennessee. When he met the seller, he learned that the man was Tim Decker, a well-known chef who had been making doughnuts for 35 years. Davis soaked up knowledge as he learned the art of doughnut-making.
“I was hooked on wanting him to train me more than the equipment,” Davis said.
At the same time, the building where TCBY was located became available. It seemed to be in the perfect spot, so Davis talked to the owner. After waiting for six months, everything suddenly fell into place.
With equipment and a place to open secured, Davis and his wife, Meredith, began working to make his dream a reality. Because Meredith used to manage a coffeehouse, they decided to add coffee to the doughnuts idea, which meant having a seating area would be crucial. Later they also decided to sell smoothies made from fresh fruit, and as their ideas grew, so did the work.
“The work is more than I would have imagined,” Davis said. “But I’ve been overwhelmed with the way people have come to support and help me. I could not have gotten this place open without all the people who have come to help. The community has been so supportive. I’ve been so blessed.”
Davis has seen support walk through his doors in various forms. A man at Lowe’s Home Improvement met Davis while he was buying supplies, and he has donated many hours to helping Davis build and paint. Even the children at Crossnore School, where Davis has worked since graduating college, helped by picking the name for the shop. Davis originally wanted to name the place Courageous Coffee, but after receiving input from the children, he settled on the name The Local Lion, represented by a mountain lion wall mural created by the curator of the art museum in Farthing Auditorium.
“I’ve made a lot of friends through this and received a lot of community support,” Davis said. “That gives me a lot of hope for the tone I want to set for the coffee shop as a place where people can really accomplish things as a community.”
The vision for the coffee shop is an environment that fosters creativity. Davis wants to see tables pulled together for meetings and coffee poured into cups right at the tables. He’s interested in featuring local artwork on his walls, and he would eventually like to support local writers by helping them get published.
“We want to be a coffee shop inside,” he said. “We don’t just want to be retail doughnuts. We want to have that place where people can come and sit and read a book or meet with people and maybe get some schoolwork done. But we’ve got the drive-through, so we also just want to have a really efficient system where people can come through fast.”
That’s the added bonus to Davis’ shop. Although he wants to see people hanging out, he also knows that many people are in a hurry. With the drive-through, Davis can serve people while they’re on the go. Inside the shop, customers place their orders on iPads. Davis hopes that in the near future, he will have an application that will allow customers to order on their phones before they reach the window, making the process even quicker.
Whether customers decide to grab a doughnut to go or if they sip coffee in the shop all afternoon, Davis hopes people find what they want at The Local Lion. His promise is to help in any way he can.
“I have goals to help other people create their opportunities,” he said. “I’m just really open to seeing this become a place that ties into local economy and becomes a bridge for the community in different ways.”