October 27, 2010
Six Mile Coffee
Java junkies have new place to fuel up
'Six Mile Coffee' stirs up competition on Frederick Road
By Alan J. McCombs and Lauren Fulbright
It's full steam ahead for Chris Sikora as he prepares for the grand opening of Six Mile Coffee on Frederick Road on Saturday, Oct. 30. Sikora, who also owns a bakery in Ellicott City, says the new coffee shop will feature some bakery items and sandwiches, but "coffee is going to be our main business." The business has already been a regular vendor at the Catonsville Farmers Market. (Staff photo by Kitty Charlton)
Something new is brewing on Catonsville's main thoroughfare.
Six Mile Coffee is scheduled to open this week in the former Chesapeake Bank Building at 609 Frederick Road.
"We think it's a great location for a coffee shop," store owner Chris Sikora said. "It has parking. It's off the Beltway so people can pick up their coffee on their way to work."
Last week, power tools and boxes still covered the floor of the new business, which is near Catonsville Elementary School.
But Sikora said the coffee shop will be ready for its Saturday, Oct. 30 grand opening, with the possibility of a soft opening before then.
Though Six Mile Coffee will join nearby competitors such as Dunkin' Donuts and Friendly's that offer patrons a cuppa joe, Sikora is confident the business will set itself apart.
"Coffee is going to be our main business, as opposed to other places that do other things and sell coffee," he said.
While the store has yet to open, Six Mile Coffee has already been making an impression in Catonsville.
The business has been a regular at the Sunday farmers' market near Friendly's in the 700 block of Frederick Road.
At the store's tent Aug. 22, customers could buy a hot coffee for $1.50 and an iced coffee for $2.
The hot coffee appealed to one self-described coffee addict, Catherine Holden of Halethorpe.
"It's a smooth coffee, not very heavy, not bitter," said the history and social studies teacher at Franklin High School, in Reisterstown. "It's just good coffee, simple and to the point and what you need at 6 a.m."
For her friend and fellow educator at Franklin High, Lisa Siegfried, Six Mile Coffee seemed like a place she could see herself frequenting on her way to work.
"I like to patronize small businesses," she said.
Six Mile Coffee is named for the nearby marker that notes the distance on the road to the port of Baltimore.
"Plus, I figured every cute name for a coffee shop ... has already been taken," Sikora said.
The new business isn't the first for Sikora. He owns and operates Sweet, a bakery in Ellicott City, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
After looking at the property for about a year, Sikora opted to open the coffee shop in Catonsville because of his familiarity with the town, he said.
"I've always liked Catonsville, the community spirit," he said. "People take a lot of pride in locally owned business and their town, and we wanted to be part of it."
The operating hours are planned for 6 a.m. to around 8 or 10 p.m. daily, with closing time depending on demand.
In addition to its regular blend of fair-trade and organic coffee, the coffee shop will offer a selection of bakery items like muffins, scones, pies and cakes from Sweet. There will also be a selection of sandwiches, salads and bread pizza made in a high-speed oven, Sikora said.
Inside, the store will offer free wireless Internet access that Sikora hopes will transform it into a meeting place both for area residents and college students, Sikora said.
The bank's former drive-through window will also find a new use: serving coffee-craving drivers on their morning commute, he said.
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