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Ludlow Mayor Opens New Coffee Shop, Distillery to Follow

"Ludlow's got a lot of good things happening. People were asking for this."

Mayor Ken Wynn is his city's newest business owner after opening a new coffee shop on Elm Street this week. "I says, you know what, let's make the investment and we'll open a coffee shop in our hometown," Wynn said.

Opening the doors on Monday was a full circle experience for Wynn. He spent twenty-seven years working for the Ludlow Pharmacy, twenty-five of which were inside the building he now owns and where he, a brother, and a nephew opened Wynner's Cup Cafe. (Ludlow Pharmacy moved to a new building a couple blocks east.)

"I've told a few people, when I left the pharmacy, I handed the keys in and then I got the keys back," Wynn laughed. "Would I have imagined that? No. But it just worked out that way."

The idea of opening a coffee shop was originally kicked around by Wynn and his brother, Roy. When Roy passed away, the idea lived on through the mayor, his other brother Steve, and his nephew, Andy. The three relatives are partners in the operation.

The entire first floor of the mid-century building was remodeled with new plumbing and electricity, a wall to create two separate commercial spaces, and refurbished concrete floors. Wynn made sure to use local suppliers and contractors for the work.

And, if opening one business is the catalyst for other businesses to follow, the plan is working in Ludlow. Wynn has already rented the neighboring space to a pair of entrepreneurs who will be opening a liquor distillery. The distillery operators idea of wanting to be on "the main drag" and hosting art shows and other events fit perfectly with Wynn's own plans.

"They are going to be an attraction for Ludlow and every business is going to benefit," Wynn said.

Upstairs is a space that Wynn plans to return to use as an events hall. He remembers attending dances and other social functions there as a boy in Ludlow. It fits about two hundred people, he said.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the cafe, Wynners Cup will operate Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers a full coffee bar, breakfast sandwiches, and pastries from Little Flour. The mayor said his hours could eventually be extended and the menu broadened to include more lunch items. An official grand opening is set for June.

Wynners Cup hosts its first event on Saturday, a fundraiser for the Covington Ladies Home.

The cafe is also just a short jump from the Ludlow City Building. When it closes at 3, Wynn said he just makes the short jump to his office to focus on his mayoral duties. But while the cafe is open, he's still working both jobs. "I'm more accessible to the people being here," he said.

Elm Street in Ludlow is home to the popular Circus Mojo, a newer large grocery store, some new national chain restaurant locations, and the classic small businesses like the ones that have lined the street since it was first laid out.

Wynn hopes that his cafe is just another feather in the city's growing cap.

"We could've gone somewhere else and done this but this is our hometown and it's given a lot to us, and it's a good town," Mayor Wynn said. "The town needed it. I'm hoping this could be the start of other things here."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photos by RCN: