Seymour woman opens coffee shop downtown

Moxie is defined as “courage, determination and energy,” similar to what coffee does for Montica Chambers in the mornings.

When she made a list of possible names for her new coffee shop, Moxie Coffee Company, that word came to mind.

“I didn’t want it to be something generic in regards to coffee, and I wanted it to mean something,” she said. “I love what moxie means, and I want the coffee shop to be a place that inspires people to go out and be an inspiration to others.”

A small crowd gathered for a ribbon cutting Oct. 3 at the coffee shop in downtown Seymour, and Chambers got a little emotional during the ceremony.

“I don’t know how many friends have come to help transform this building and help this dream come alive, but I want to thank them all,” she said.

So many people from the community have come out to support her, and she said she’s very grateful and overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness.

The ribbon cutting was scheduled late in the afternoon so her children could attend. She and her husband, Elton Chambers, have two sons, Dawson, 15, and Townsend, 13, and one daughter, Leona, who just turned 10.

Montica’s parents, Ken and Jill Carpenter, also drove up from their home in Louisville, Kentucky, for the occasion.

Elton, who was at the ceremony, said the coffee shop is all Montica’s vision, and his main contributions have been assisting with manual labor and being a sounding board.

“The chandelier in the shop was found upstairs in the building and it was all rusted, but she said she wanted to use it,” he said. “So she cleaned it up and it works really well, and then she wanted to just sand the front door, which seemed like a lot of work, but it came out looking great.”

The Chambers family moved to Seymour 10 years ago when Elton went to work as a hospitalist at Schneck Medical Center.

Montica was a stay-at-home mom, but when Leona started kindergarten, she wasn’t sure what the next season of her life would look like.

“I decided to give myself a year and was busy volunteering and helping with the youth group at church,” she said. “Then I started feeling discontent and started praying about what the next season of my life should look like and had made a short list of ideas, and this kept coming to the top, and here we are.”

Moxie’s menu features coffee, but there also are beverages, such as tea, smoothies, hot chocolate and caramel apple cider, for non-coffee drinkers.

Chambers also offers from food items, including muffins, scones, cookies and breakfast sandwiches. The menu is subject to change and recently has featured avocado toast and breakfast banana splits.

Currently, there are nine employees at Moxie, counting Montica.

“We get our coffee beans from The Well Coffeehouse out of Nashville, Tennessee, and they are a nonprofit,” Montica said. “They have direct trade relationships with coffee farmers in several different countries, and they go spend a week or more on the farm working with the farmer, tasting the coffees and seeing how they run the farm.”

She said once they have that relationship, they work with nearby communities because many of the countries that grow coffee oftentimes don’t have access to clean water.

“They work with those communities and come up with a plan and pay community members to build wells so they have access to clean water,” Montica said. “Their coffee is fantastic, but I ended up going with them as our roaster because I just felt like our values aligned.”

Montica and Elton have had the building in downtown Seymour since Dec. 30, 2020. It took seven months for the architect and contractor to complete the drawings.

“Then because of COVID, we had to redo all of the estimates we had done previously for renovations because of the fluctuating prices,” Montica said. “That took about a full year. Then they started renovations in January of this year.”

Allen Mikles of Goecker Construction Inc. is the project manager and estimator for the building. A two-bedroom Airbnb will be opening on the second floor in the coming weeks.

Montica said their goal is to maintain the historical integrity of the building.

Employee Sarah Hodapp said this is her first time working in a coffee shop, but she has always wanted to.

“As soon as I heard Montica had purchased this building and I learned about the plans, I knew I wanted to work here,” she said. “In July, I came in and started helping get everything ready.”

Hodapp said she has always loved coffee and knew Montica was going to do something great for the building and the community, so besides the coffee aspect, that was her driving force for wanting to work there.

She said representatives from The Well Coffeehouse came up and helped with training the employees, which really gave them that extra confidence they needed.

“They really helped dial us in because at first, we pushed more quantity, but they told us to slow down and concentrate on quality,” Hodapp said. “They said once we had our bar flow in place and our proper setup for where each barista should be, then drinks would be coming out faster because we’d have it down pat. Then we’d have the quality, too.”

She said they have their early morning people who are usually in and out, but the busiest time seems to be 10 a.m. to noon because the people who come in sometimes like to stay a little longer.

Hodapp said they had a group of about 20 college students stop by Oct. 5, and they got a surprise.

“The girls from Uptown Realty were in the shop earlier that morning, and Bethany Rust (from Uptown Realty) later called us saying she just saw it was National Do Something Nice Day,” she said. “They wanted to put a $100 tab from Uptown Realty to pay for anyone’s drinks, and the next ones that came in was the college group with Live Action Ministries, and Uptown Realty paid for all those kids’ drinks, so that was something really exciting that happened.”

Moxie Coffee Company is open from 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. On Saturday, the shop is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hours are subject to change.