SWEENY — Wanting an iced coffee on a hot summer day for Sweeny residents often meant making a trek to neighboring towns for a break from the heat, but those days have come to an end.

Dark Roast Co., 19 N. Main St, a new business in Sweeny offers iced and hot specialty coffees, smoothies, teas and baked goods including muffins and cookies. The shop also offers a breakfast and lunch menu with sandwiches and other items.

Owner Natasha Lefear has always had a natural appreciation for coffee, she said.

“I have always loved coffee,” she said. “I’m one of the all-day coffee drinkers, one of the all-day tea drinkers. It seemed like a great opportunity to start something in my hometown, give back to the community and then also do something I am passionate about.”

Lefear, who is from Sweeny, knew Dark Roast could be a viable business in the city because of how far residents had to previously travel for their coffee fix, she said.

“The nearest place for people to go is 421 Coffeehouse & Bistro in West Columbia,” she said.

Dark Roast, which opened in late June, can become the main spot where groups of people come to relax or have a place to work, Lefear said.

“I am really excited for that opportunity to be that spot for people in Sweeny,” she said.

It was a long process to decide the aesthetic of the business, but the end result was worth it, Lefear said.

“We had to destroy the building almost,” she said. “We had to remove the floor completely — down to the dirt, actually. Once we put the new flooring in and were able to start putting some of the furniture pieces in, I think it really set in that this is going to be a great, relaxing spot for the neighborhood and people in the county.”

With food options to go along with the drink menu, that will further entice residents and visitors out of town to stay at Dark Roast, Lefear said.

“Something to really just keep you in the shop and also give you a variety depending on what you want,” she said. “We are a full service. We will make sure you have something to eat.”

Officials with the Sweeny Chamber of Commerce are always excited when a local business opens in the city, Vice President Charles Barnett said.

“I think it actually boosts the economy of the town,” he said. “I believe if we don’t have local businesses, towns will ultimately dissolve. That’s what boosts the economy and the financial institute of the town.”

He’s a big believer if a business can create a good relationship with both the city and the chamber, that business can become prosperous and stay open with a dedicated clientele, Barnett said.

“So, when a new business develops here in Sweeny, we as fast as possible try to connect to the owner to join the chamber,” he said. “Our main goal is we keep them vital in the community.”

It’s been a slow process but recently he is seeing a growth in new businesses within the Sweeny community, Barnett said.

What Lefear said she wants to achieve with Dark Roast is to create an atmosphere people feel comfortable calling their own.

“I’m hoping they come in and feel relaxed,” she said. “We have already had a retirement group of teachers that came in and said they would come in once a week.”

For information, go to www.facebook.com/darkroastco/

Connor Behrens is a reporter at The Facts. You can contact him at 979-237-0150.

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