After 30 Years of Dreaming, Covington Couple Open Coffeehouse
It was 1983 when Russ & Jackie Slone first went to the City of Covington looking for advice and assistance in their quest to open a coffee shop.
The married couple dreamed of running the coffee business in the bottom of a building while living above it.
Officials at City Hall at the time suggested that the Slones instead buy a house and build up some personal equity before embarking on their caffeinated dreams.
So they did.
First they bought a house on Fifteenth Street and eventually settled in Wallace Woods where Russ, a social worker, and Jackie, an artist, raised two daughters.
"We never got around to that (Upstairs apartment) and building a coffeehouse," Russ aid.
Left Bank Coffeehouse opened its doors for the first time Tuesday morning and will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday. Not only do the Slones now have their dream coffee shop, albeit three decades later, they also have a home upstairs from it.
And, perhaps, waiting thirty years proved to be beneficial because now their two daughters, Maggie Soard and Katie Bialczak, are adults and are tasked with staffing the new endeavor.
The plans for the coffeehouse never went away. The Slones purchased their building at 701 Greenup Street (the southwest corner of Greenup & Seventh Streets) eight years ago and have lived in it for most of the time since. An old idea still brewing inside re-emerged. "We got this little cottage at the end of the building," Russ thought after Jackie was inspired again following a visit to a workshop out west that included a stop in a coffee shop. "Why don't we turn it into a coffeehouse."
After finally securing the necessary funding, the Left Bank Coffeehouse went under construction and is now open.
The Slones are self-described Francophiles and there are many elements of France-inspired decorations. The name "Left Bank" is a reference to La Rive Gauce, the southern bank of the Seine River in Paris, and also to a bygone era in the City of Lights in which many famous artists got together. "In the 20s and 30s all the artists hung out in Paris. It's kind of a reference to that," Jackie said. "(And) I just thought it was a good name for a coffeehouse."
Russ explained that it's also a reference to the shop's proximity to the banks of the Ohio and Licking Rivers, too.
The Left Bank will serve traditional espresso drinks, blended beverages, Savor pastries, soups from Myra's in Clifton, and other products typical of small coffeeshops.
Many products and decorations sit on wooden shelves re-purposed from an old closet that used to fill the space before its renovation. The wood paneling on some of the walls came from doors bought from the Covington Re-Use Center and are said to have come from Cincinnati's Carew Tower. Tile mosaics on each end of the shop were produced by Jackie, the artist.
Now married for thirty-six years, the Slones watch their two daughters operate their newest baby, the Left Bank. Russ said he hopes that the business grows enough to be a possible future for his girls.
It took a long time to lay the foundation for that future, but it's here now. "I never give up," Jackie said.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News