In two months, Beau and Ashley Bekemeier will be opening a café in the same St. Clair building where they were married 13 years ago.
The couple own the BB Coffee Lab, which will open at the former Roots Church, 335 N. Commercial Ave., in July.
Beau Bekemeier said the 3,000-square-foot cafe, with a planned capacity of 100 people, will feature two lounges, a bookable conference room, office space and a drive-through window, with the idea that this will be “a place where people can come together.
“We believe the style of our cafe will appeal to young people,” he said. “I think maybe they are (looking for) community and they can also feel this is a place for them. So it’s our goal, that the young and the old really enjoy our space at the same time.
The building has long been a gathering place.
A native of St. Clair, Ashley Bekemeier “grew up” in the building because her father had pastored the church for 35 years, according to her husband, who worked full time in the pastoral church industry for. 20 years before the family moved. from St. Louis to St. Clair two years ago.
The church was known as Victory Church until it became Roots Church six years ago. The Roots Church expanded to a new location at 235 N. Service Road W about a year ago.
Plans are for Anytime Fitness to join the BB Coffee Lab in the former Roots Church location. Franchise owner Edwin Van Weelden was on vacation and could not be reached. Beau Bekemeier said the two were friends and the space would be elevated through the combination of a cafe and a gym.
“Once we really realized it was a viable thing, with the partnership with the gym we were excited to jump on it because, honestly, we really didn’t want to see it turn into just more parking. or a building vacant for a long period of time, ”Beau Bekemeier said.
He said the couple started Bekemeier Property Management LLC to do the construction work and with the goal of building more cafes in Franklin County.
They bought the building and Anytime Fitness rents it to them. The Bekemeiers work with local companies Williams Electrical Services, Woody’s Heating & Air Conditioning and Homes Systems Inc. for electrical, plumbing and HVAC upgrades and installation.
They finance the project with savings and a loan from the Bank of Sullivan. Beau Bekemeier declined to disclose the cost of the project.
“The building itself means a lot to us and especially to my wife,” he said.