Downtown Siloam Springs has witnessed a variety of changes over the past few months, many even in the past week. Some businesses have closed, others opened, some expanded and some are under new ownership.
Nonetheless, the area is thriving. Meredith Bergstrom, executive director of Main Street Siloam Springs, said the district did not experience its usual dip in traffic during the summer months.
“Downtown is the reason I stayed after graduating from JBU,” Bergstrom said.
The following offers a look at Pour Jon’s Coffee and Tea Pub, one of the thriving local businesses that is undergoing a few changes.
About 10 years after moving to Siloam Springs, Ark., Chris Moore sits at a table in Pour Jon’s Coffee and Tea Pub. Working for a local heating and air company until just a few months ago, Moore is now the owner of the local coffee joint. “I wanted to try something new,” he explained.
The previous owners contacted Moore at the beginning of June, while Moore was on a mission trip in Thailand. In July, he took over the local business, situated at 223 North Wright Street, Siloam Springs, Ark.
Along with his wife Jen, who graduated from John Brown University in 2005, and their daughter Bella, age 2, Moore has been mastering the ins and outs of running a coffeehouse. He described the past two months as a positive learning experience, and is thankful not only to his family for their support, but also to the former employees who have stayed on and are helping him learn the ropes.
Possibly the most notable change at Pour Jon’s will be the additional space provided by an ongoing expansion. Bergstrom and Moore are pleased about the revitalization of the building’s previously vacant second floor.
The new staircase, almost finished, leads up to a space similar in size to the first floor. Similar to the current design downstairs, exposed brick and a stained plywood floor currently define the space; as does a vintage upright piano, which has been appointed for community use.
Upon its completion, the large room will contain a second mini coffee bar, a meeting table and a selection of couches and chairs, but will also boast a larger stage and a vinyl record store.
Moore has been building up a stockpile of records for several years now with the intentions of opening a record store in Siloam Springs. Pour Jon’s has provided him the opportunity to do so.
Shelves with built-in dividers will provide easy access for customers flipping through the intermixed collection of classic and contemporary records. A listening station will allow the customers to actually listen to the music on-site.
Album covers, acoustic panels and graffiti created by a friend of Moore will blend with the aroma of coffee to provide the exact atmosphere that the new owner desires.
With its expansion, including a larger stage and dedicated sound system and mixer, Moore plans to market Pour Jon’s as a music venue. The ultimate goal would be at least one concert a week. Moore is also excited to have other groups besides bands, such as theatre groups or poetry societies, bring life to the space.
“Me and my wife love to throw parties,” Moore said. “There are a lot of funky things I want to do.”
One of the first events Moore plans would be the second floor launch party, expected around the end of September. Described as a secret party, guests will have to figure out how to get in based on what they wear, a password or some other sign.
A vintage fashion show with another downtown business, Amandromeda, will also happen later in the fall. Moore mentioned other possible events such as a Halloween party, karaoke and movie nights.
Both Bergstrom and Moore emphasized the concept of “third place” for downtown Siloam Springs as a whole and for Pour Jon’s, respectively. People have their homes and places of work, but they also need another place to go and socialize with members of the community outside of those two normal spheres.
Moore is currently working on a few changes to the menu, including new smoothie flavors.
The pastries offered are now made by 28 Springs, another downtown business.
Pour Jon’s will also soon begin a loyalty card program. Customers will get punches for buying a variety of drinks, and as a reward
will receive exclusive merchandise from the coffeehouse.
“When I first came [to Pour Jon’s], I thought, this is everything I love,” said Moore, who has always felt connected with the quirky personality of the coffeehouse.
Moore is eager to continue on the legacy of Pour Jon’s and to also be part of an area that he described as energetic and revitalized. He, along with other business owners and Bergstrom strive towards the goal of Main Street Siloam Springs: “Enhance downtown, where community springs to life.”