Coffee shop boosts farmers, local radio

A new coffee shop has opened at the Coupeville Wharf and it offers something more than the usual fare of mochas, lattes and scones: It provides a place to purchase locally-gown produce as it supports a small community radio station.

William Bell of Local Grown awaits customers to enjoy coffee in the new business. Local Grown sells coffee

William Bell of Local Grown awaits customers to enjoy coffee in the new business. Local Grown sells coffee

Food, music, both made on Whidbey

A new coffee shop has opened at the Coupeville Wharf and it offers something more than the usual fare of mochas, lattes and scones: It provides a place to purchase locally-gown produce as it supports a small community radio station.

Local Grown opened two weeks ago in the former location of Corroseal, which had been vacant since late 2006.

Owner William Bell said he’s already received positive comments from residents about Local Grown.

“A lot of people like the idea of going to one place to buy locally-grown foods,” Bell said.

He hopes to soon offer a selection of onions, potatoes, garlic, leeks and a variety of other products depending on the growing season.

Bell stressed that he doesn’t want to compete with the local farmers for business. He offers information on how to contact local farmers that supply Local Grown. He equated his shop to a co-op in some respects.

He also sells the usual smattering of coffee drinks. Keeping with the locally-produced theme of his business, he uses Mukilteo Coffee, which is roasted on Whidbey Island. He also bakes his own biscotti and scones each morning.

The retail outlet provides a means of support for the radio station that is broadcasting in Coupeville, and serves as the studio for the station which focuses on community programming.

The radio station, KWPA, broadcasts in Coupeville on 103.1 FM. The project was originated by the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley. However, the radio station broke away from that theater-oriented group because it was a challenging enough project by itself, Bell said. Now, the radio station is its own nonprofit organization known as Whidbey Island Public Radio.

Prior to coming to Whidbey Island, Bell lived in Santa Rosa, Calif., where he headed a firm that handled the marketing of nearby wineries.

Even though the station is now broadcasting music produced by local musicians, Bell still has a lot of work to do to keep it alive. He is raising money to help fund the studio costs and estimates another $10,000 is needed to complete the work.

Bell plans to install the studio within the Local Grown retail space. He will wall off a portion of the space for the studio while leaving enough room for the coffee shop.

The opening of Local Grown comes after two Coupeville Wharf businesses went under in recent years. Corroseal and the Harbor Store Cafe both closed. In the cafe’s place is another restaurant operated by the Port of Coupeville’s harbormaster.

Currently Bell is meeting with local farmers to find out what crops will be available. He is operating Local Grown with his wife, Jill, and daughter, Molly.

Local Grown is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information on how to get involved with the radio station, contact Bell at 678-3648.

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