an independent craft coffee shop in downtown canton
The Coffee Shop
Papertown Coffee began with the idea of bringing our love of coffee and the ritual of its artful preparation to our favorite place in the world, Western North Carolina. When we stepped into the storied building in downtown Canton, we instantly saw the shop take form. Since that cold day in January, we have been met with unwavering enthusiasm from the community and we hope to, in turn, build a space where the community can come together in a warm and inviting environment. Our goal is to create a place that Canton is proud to call its own, with Carolina roasted coffee prepared with care, experience, and humility. From a mug of fresh brewed drip, to hand-brewed pourover coffee, to meticulously crafted espresso beverages (yes, that one you’re thinking of, the one with all the words), there will be a drink for every taste.
Built originally in 1910 and listed on the historic registry, our Main Street location has stories (and dust) in its bones. It has been the offices of the Canton Enterprise newspaper, a barber shop, a jeweler, a life insurance company, and the Red Cross. We love the brick walls and columns, the sturdy hardwood floors, and the decades of colorful wallpaper stacked up like layers of sedimentary rock. Our goal is to restore this beautiful building, and the Town of Canton has been extremely helpful in providing pictures and history.
I grew up in Charlotte, NC, where I never got a call-back regarding my application with Starbucks or Caribou. Now, with a baker’s dozen years of experience in the coffee world, starting my own cafe has been in the back of my mind for a good while. I began as a barista in shops in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, and Durham, and competed in my first barista competition within the first six months. I also served as the staff trainer, where I met Liz (I suggested she might want some latte art training - game recognize game).
For the past seven years I’ve been working on the technical side installing and repairing coffee equipment. I started that in Seattle, where my interviewers said that my beard was a deciding factor in my hiring, and continuing when we moved back to NC, including some places you may have been to in WNC. While it’s been nice to exercise that part of my brain, I missed the interactions - building intricate Pandora stations with my coworkers, knowing what drink someone wants when they walk in the door, or helping a newcomer pick out what drink they’d like based on their tastes. With help from Liz, our families, and the community in Canton, I think we can put together a place that pulls from the best parts of the hundreds of shops I’ve been in.
I was born and raised in the small town of Lincolnton, NC. Living in the foothills, it was always a treat to visit WNC in the summer, and I’ve been drawn to the area ever since. I met Russ while working at a coffee shop in Chapel Hill (he was my drink trainer!) when I was going to school there. A few years later we decided we wanted to start fresh in a big city and moved to Seattle with little more than a dream of what life would be like there. After four years in the Northwest with some amazing hiking, traveling, food, and coffee, we realized that North Carolina was still home, and we’ve been slowly making our way into WNC since. We bought a house in Morganton, took up gardening, beekeeping and pottery, and basically hit the reset button on life.
Most of my adult life has been me moving from one career to another (seriously, I’ve done everything from working at a nonprofit that works with blues artists to being a tour manager for a band to working at a trucking company) but I finally realized that being a barista is the one job I always return to. Year after year I keep feeling drawn not only to the craft but also to the community that a coffee shop can create. Working in the coffee industry continues to be a common thread in our lives and we finally hit a point where we said, “it’s now or never, let’s do this!” So, here we are! I’m beyond thrilled to share this dream with such an inspiring town and community.