Key to Good Coffee: Churchill’s make mark with new coffee shop
Local main street coffee shops are mainstays in many communities similar in size to Jenks and now thanks to Lee and Kelley Churchill, Jenks can say that have joined the coffee shop scene.
Vintage Key opened its doors Oct. 10 after months of hardships of preparation and obstacles to overcome, but the Churchills were determined to give Jenks a new coffee shop.
Lee’s job moved the couple to Tulsa at the end of 2017 and with Kelley having to look for a new job following the move, the Churchill’s decided to pursue another dream, opening a small business.
“We both worked in the corporate world and had talked about someday opening a small business,” Lee said. “The question was who was going to quit their good corporate job to be the one to run the business. With me being transferred to Tulsa, it forced our hand because Kelley was no longer be able to work for her company she was with anymore, so we decided maybe it was time to do something different.”
The Churchill’s had expressed interest in the Main Street location at 111 E. Main St. when they first moved to Jenks, but the current owner decided to sell his location to another buyer.
Several months went by and in April of 2018, Kelley got a call from the landlord when they were standing in line at Burn Co. waiting to eat dinner.
The landlord asked Kelley the current owner had decided to sell the location after just several months of business and asked if the Churchill’s were still interested in leasing the store.
Kelley asked for a day to talk with Lee about it and after a long discussion that night and without a completed business plan, they decided to jump in feet first and pursue the small-business dream.
“We wanted a Main Street location, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the chance because we knew it wouldn’t be on the market long,” Kelley said.
The couple knew the store would require a lot of work before they opened because they said they wanted to be different than the previous coffee shops that had been in that location.
“We wanted something opposite of the former stores and change the reputation of coffee in downtown Jenks,” Kelley said.
The flooding that hit the Tulsa and specifically the Jenks area in May and June effected the ability for the Churchill’s to get contractors out to the store to do work that needed be done throughout the summer months.
The couple didn’t start to gain much traction until late July into August, but even then, they had trouble getting the right people out to help with the work, so they had to do a lot of it themselves.
Lee had to work evenings and weekends around his day-time job to help get the store ready to go.
For the month of November, the Vintage Key’s hours are 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and closed on Sunday and Mondays.
“It takes time to build a customer base, but we are off to a good start,” Kelley said. “People are starting to come in almost daily and we are starting to get regulars. I chose the name Vintage Key because I really love vintage keys and I felt like it followed the theme down here on Main Street.”
Lee said the response thus far has been humbling.
“Everyone loves the coffee and that is important to us. Customer service is the most important thing to us. We want feedback. We want to be able to accommodate people and what they want from their coffee and their pastries. All of our pastries are made in house. We have been humbled by the hospitality here in Jenks and the entire Tulsa area. We want to listen to people and here what they have to say about us and our products. We want to enhance the coffee drinking experience and accommodate every kind of coffee drinker. People go to coffee shops for the experience and we have been humbled by the support in the short time we have been opened.”