Brady’s Coffee Shop has plenty of regular customers and the occasional newbie. The owner, James Brady, doesn’t advertise, so people learn of the small shop through word of mouth.
Customers like Melanie Raines, an Atlanta, Ga., transplant, come to sip on the rich roasted coffees, chat or just get away from the busyness of life.
She’s come to the coffee shop each day since she moved to Tyler in July. She goes there to study her bible or unwind.
“It’s just really homey and low-key,” Ms. Raines said. “It’s not like a stiff coffee shop. It’s a good atmosphere. You’re treated like family.”
When you step foot in Brady’s Coffee Shop, the aroma of roasted coffee beans is pronounced. The sounds of soft classical music fill the air and customers occupy mix-matched tables and chairs inside a small room.
The square, nonpretentious building sits on the corner of Rusk and Bois D’arc streets in Tyler’s brick street district.
There’s nothing extravagant or overstated about this coffee shop. The simple, laid-back ambiance is evident, even down to the cup sizes.
“It’s either regular or large. You don’t need five different cup sizes,” Brady said.
Local artists’ works are featured on the wall, as well as relics of Brady’s Catholic faith. Other than that, he doesn’t put much stock into a common theme or d￩cor.
“I never thought about decorating,” he said “I was more concerned about the coffee than the walls. I just wanted it to be comfortable.”
And he hasn’t let his customers down, which is confirmed by the praising Post-It notes they leave behind.
“The coffee is just so good they can’t stay away,” said Sara Suarez, who works at the shop.
Brady, 59, opened the shop nearly 19 years ago and started humbly with a shoestring budget.
He offers about 28 varieties of coffee, including at least 15 flavor-infused ones, such as coconut cream and buttery toffee. He sells a lot of his coffee in bulk.
Lattes and cappuccinos are crowd favorites. He also sells pastries, including brownies and muffins that he makes from scratch.
Aside from a selection of loose-leaf teas, and the pastries, Brady isn’t interested in straying too far from the heart of his small business.
“It’s all about the coffee,” he said. “I don’t plan on changing anything.”
A former professional photographer, Brady has enjoyed the success of his quaint shop. It has always done well, he said, with the exception of the “hiccup” of the economic downturn after Sept. 11, 2001.
“I saw a lot of mom-and-pop shows that didn’t make it,” he recounted.
From the beginning, Brady didn’t want his coffee shop to grow too much. And he didn’t want it to merge with any other type of business.
Ms. Suarez, 22, has worked at the shop for nearly two years. The University of Texas at Tyler student said being inundated in the smells, sights and sounds of the charming shop has turned her into a knowledgeable coffee drinker. Like her customers, she also appreciates the rich flavors and the homey feel.
“It’s what a coffee shop should be,” she said.