Big city coffee in a small town
Great progress has been made on the revitalization of Park Avenue, the oldest neighborhood in Hot Springs, with the addition of lighting, bike lanes, stormwater drain paintings and sidewalk improvements, to name a few.
Another addition to the neighborhood came three years ago in the form of a coffee shop, Red Light Roastery, located at 1003 Park Ave.
Red Light is owned by Adam and Briana Moore.
To add to the uniqueness of it, the coffee shop found its home inside of an old country home built in the late 1880s. The house was vacant for four years before the Moores purchased it in 2015. Previous to that, the house served as an antique shop, then a rental
The couple completely revamped the house, renovating the front rooms into a kitchen and coffee shop and reserving the remaining rooms for other uses including shipping and storage.
Before the idea arose to open a coffee shop, Adam took steps to turn his beer-brewing hobby into a business and the couple registered the name Red Light as the company name. Then, they both discovered they were gluten-intolerant and had to switch gears.
“We thought, ‘Well, what can we do that nobody else is doing?’ and it just kind of came from that,” Briana said, clarifying that the name Red Light Roastery is in no way related to a red light district.
All of the coffee beans used at Red Light are imported from a coffee broker from The Coffee Belt, an imaginary band around the equator. There, stable temperatures, moderate precipitation and rich soil make the perfect conditions for coffee trees. Red Light’s beans are sourced from places including Africa, South America and Asia and are then roasted inside the shop by Adam.
Three words that Briana uses to describe her shop are cozy, comfortable and relaxing.
“I feel like people come here and it’s just a place to relax,” she said. “But, also, a lot of people come in and say this is the best coffee they’ve had in the city, so it’s like a big city coffee in a small town.”
Though she prides Red Light on being a small town coffee shop, of the bigger coffee chains, like Starbucks, she said, “They have their place. I think Starbucks definitely paved the way for making coffee more accessible. I think, if nothing else, they’ve done a great job in making coffee available on every street corner.”
In addition to coffee, Red Light also serves light foods such as bagels, muffins and cheesecake.
The home that houses Red Light Roastery is also home to Briana’s 12-year-old soap company, Larkmartin Soaps. She said her most popular soap scent is Lemon Grass Citrus.
“I cannot keep it in stock,” she added.
The couple’s third business venture opened last June in the form of a bed-and-breakfast through Airbnb, an American company that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including cottages, apartments, homestays, hostel beds or hotel rooms.
They have since opened a second bed-and-breakfast, both located on Pullman Avenue in Hot Springs.
“We wanted to invest in the neighborhood. Park Avenue is experiencing a revitalization and we really wanted to be a part of that, so we were trying to think of ways that we could do that,” Briana said. “We have two houses on Pullman and they’re adorable.”
In February of this year, Briana was named to an open seat on the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission. To sum it up, her love for the city in which she resides and the city’s need for tourism are two of the main reasons she said she applied to the commission.
“Being here and talking to all of our customers and seeing how many people come to Hot Springs as a destination is so fascinating to me. There was a couple in here this morning and they were from Switzerland. It’s just so neat to visit with people and talk about this town with people, and knowing that the better Hot Springs is presented, it’s good for the community,” she said. “So I think that was probably why I was really interested in it — seeing how important tourism is to Hot Springs.”
According to its website, the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission administers the collection and expenditure of the city’s 3 percent tax on prepared food and lodging for the purpose of promoting Hot Springs. According to Moore, the commission also operates the Hot Springs Convention Center and oversees many of the city’s events, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Running of the Tubs, Movies at the Market, and Spa-Con.
A big part of Adam and Briana’s business is the Red Light GiveBack. Briana said each month the business donates its tips to a local nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, adding that giving back to the community is high on their list of priorities.
Organizations that Red Light has donated to include Low Key Arts, CASA, Garland County Humane Society, Stop Animal Cruelty, PHOEBE and Emergent Arts.
This month, Red Light is raising money for Jackson House. They’ve raised a total of $17,950 for local nonprofits since they began Red Light GiveBack three years ago.
“There are so many issues in this town,” Briana said, “It’s kind of amazing how great the need is.”
When they aren’t working, Briana said the couple and their two children, Sandler and Milo, enjoy going to the park, hiking with their dogs, visiting Mid-America Science Museum and just getting outside as much as possible.
Of Hot Springs as a whole, Briana said, “It’s just so beautiful here. You can start anywhere and get on a hiking trail. It’s so lovely.”
Red Light’s hours are 4:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.