For those who enjoy coffee, books, and beer, Cream & Amber offers a one-stop shop in downtown Hopkins. The shop officially opened Feb. 26.
Owners and friends Katie Terhune and Kacey Hruby Wyttenhove envisioned the concept during their college days at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
“We were looking for a place that was more comfortable than a bar, where you could go read a book and get a good beer, and we didn’t see anywhere like that,” Terhune said.
After graduating, the two went into their perspective careers – Terhune was a teacher and Wyttenhove worked in human resources – and began saving money.
They shared a passion for books and beer and wanted to combine them in a space with a coffee-shop vibe, explained Terhune.
Their shared passion is also reflected in the shop’s name, Cream & Amber, inspired by a poem by 19th century American author Edgar Allan Poe that reads:
“Filled with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain —
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.”
Now, a year after signing the lease, they are excited to open the shop.
“It’s been so fun to meet the people who will hopefully become regulars,” said Terhune.
“It’s fun to connect with people – see what they are reading, see what they are drinking,” Wyttenhove added.
While the business partners looked at a few spots, their sights were on downtown Hopkins.
“We really liked the Mainstreet downtown feel of it,” including the vibrant business community, said Wyttenhove, a Minnetonka native and 2007 Hopkins High School graduate.
They looked at the century-old house and former bridal shop, found it had so much character and could visualize the space being a bookstore, said Wyttenhove, noting Hopkins hasn’t had a bookstore in at least 10 years.
While some might think opening a bookstore in the digital age is a bit of a risk, Wyttenhove isn’t worried stating independent book stores are actually on the rise.
“We believe it’s because people are looking for unique spaces to connect,” she said, noting bookstores offer a more personal experience than purchasing online.
“You have a different experience when you walk into a bookstore,” Wyttenhove said, as they meet others who might recommend a book they’ve never heard of before. “We try and create that welcoming feeling and welcoming experience here.”
At Cream & Amber, readers will find both new and used books in a variety of genres, along with a large collection of Minnesota authors and publishers.
Together, they’ve hand-selected all the new books, as well as high-quality donated books. The shop will eventually host specific trade-in days for customers to bring in used books.
“We want to make sure what we’re curating is jiving with [the customers],” said Wyttenhove, therefore, offering “a little bit of everything.”
Wyttenhove’s current favorite book is a short story collection by Minnesota author Lesley Nneka Arimah, “What it means when a man falls from the sky.” Terhune’s current favorite “Bad Feminist,” a memoir by Roxane Gay.
Along with books, comes the beer, including six rotating taps from Minnesota craft breweries, each with a different flavor profile: light, dark, hop-forward, seasonal and different. Right now, “different” is Indeed’s Lavender, Sunflower Honey, and Dates ale.
“We love all the craft beer options [in Minnesota],” said Wyttenhove, noting they want to feature a variety of breweries from not only the Twin Cities, like Indeed, but out-state as well, such as Bent Paddle in Duluth and Enki in Victoria.
For the non-beer enthusiasts, Cream & Amber also offers wine and cider.
Those looking for a little pep in their step can also order a cup of coffee by St. Paul’s Bootstrap Coffee Roasters, that is both fair-trade and organic-certified.
Regular, decaf and cold brews are available.
A menu with paninis, salads, soup and bakery goods is also offered.
A community room is also available at no charge. Reserve online or call 952-595-5640.
The downtown location, 1605 Mainstreet, also makes for a “great place to pop in and out” with both on-street and off-street parking via the alley.
Cream & Amber is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, and closed Monday. Get more information on social media and online at creamandamber.com.
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