“Kimberly’s Coffeehouse & Things” in Winlock is appropriately named.
When Kimberly Hartman walks into her business and feels like making cinnamon rolls, she makes them. Or maybe she’ll cook pizza, air-fried french fries, wings or doughnuts.
No matter what she chooses, she’ll be making it with a smile. The coffeehouse is Hartman’s second shot at a career.
“I wanted to be a teacher so badly, and I was. I went to college in my married life and ended up teaching in Rainier, (Oregon),” Hartman said.
But in 2017, she was in a life-changing car accident.
“My doctor said, ‘You can’t drive anymore,’” she recalled. “I had a busted hip, I lost the sight in my left eye. It was the peripheral, you know, I could see things coming but not if somebody walked up beside me … So I said, ‘Alright Jesus, what next?’ you know. I prayed.”
Unable to make the commute, she left her teaching job. Growing up, her mother had several restaurants, and Hartman had experience working in a bakery. She went back to what she knew.
Now, her new coffeehouse is both a business venture and a creative outlet.
“I just have specials that when I come in, I decide,” Hartman said. “I just walk in and say, ‘I want this today.’”
The lease on her location was signed nearly two years ago with her father, Ray Brown. They took the location from an empty white room to a chic cafe and kitchen with several tables. Their opening was then delayed by the pandemic.
Finally, Hartman and Brown celebrated their opening on the weekend of Egg Days earlier this year. They also hired Gretchan Tonkin, who said she has lived in Winlock “forever and a day.”
Hartman aims to give back to the community that brought her safety and stability during a challenging time while living in Longview several years ago.
“I wanted to get out of the Longview craziness because it seems like there was more drugs. I was pregnant with one of my boys and my upstairs neighbor took a gun out and shot out for the Fourth of July, which put me into labor. It was false labor because he wasn’t due until August but then that’s when I decided ‘I am not living here.’ And I went for a drive … Seeing the big egg, I just kind of knew, ‘this is it.’”
Following through on that initiative to give back, Hartman has a printer and Wi-Fi through ToledoTel. As online schooling continues to become more prevalent, she imagines the cafe will become a hangout for local students.
Alongside internet and eccentric food choices, the coffeehouse uses coffee beans from Seattle-area company Poverty Bay, chosen for its growing and roasting methods which make it less likely to trigger heartburn. The kitchen also carries a wide range of syrups, with every flavor matched by a sugar-free option.
When asked what else she would like customers to know, Hartman said: “I wouldn’t mind if somebody wanted to come in and play a guitar or if somebody wanted to improv kind of thing. I’m open to that. You know, I think the more we get our name out there, the better.”
More on Kimberly’s Coffeehouse & Things
Address: 110 Cedar Crest Drive, Winlock
Current hours: Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.; Saturday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
New hours (starting Aug. 10): Tuesday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.