New ideas brewing: Coffee group continues to meet

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Even the coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped this group from gathering for coffee at The Buffalo Mall. After all, the group has been enjoying coffee and stories together on an almost daily basis since 1985 in Jamestown. Since the mall is temporarily closed the group, from left, Scot Nething, Deb Lee, Shirley Jackson, Lyman Keim, Jim Vagneur and Marilys Carterk, has taken to the parking lot and is practicing social distancing as well. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The world has gone through major changes since March, but not even a global pandemic can disrupt the daily meetings of Jamestown's coffee group.

"It's kind of hard to break all habits," said Scot Nething, a regular coffee group attender.

The group of Jamestown residents has been meeting together since 1985. The group's main shared point of contact originally stemmed from the Buffalo Mall.

"At one time or another, we've all been employed or involved in stores at the mall," Nething said. "We started meeting before the mall opened for coffee, to say hi, talk and check things out and it just continued. It's totally social, we don't make any decisions, we don't do anything. It's just kind of a step away from things."

The group has traditionally met inside the Buffalo Mall five to six times per week at 9:30 a.m. Now, in efforts to practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, the group has adjusted locales in order to maintain the 35-year tradition.


"Everyone in town knows us," said Shirley Jackson, Riddle's Jewelry store manager. "When you say 'the coffee group' they know who we are and where we are at."

Drivers-by don't have to look very hard to find the group if the weather is fair nowadays.

If the weather allows, the coffee group has taken to meeting at the Buffalo Mall parking lot. If inclement weather threatens the gathering, the crew will meet via the Houseparty app.

"We did meet outside this morning again," Jackson said on Thursday afternoon. "We did our 'tailgating' party I guess you could say. We bring our chairs and our coffee and we just sit there and chit-chat. Pretty much the only day we don't (meet) is Sundays."

Jackson has been with the group since its inception 35 years ago when she was employed at Anderson's Footwear in the mall. While there is a committed core group of members, who, like Jackson, have been attending for the past three decades, Jackson and Nething said the group is open to newcomers.

"Anne Carlson has brought Jesse Schumacher, and he started coming and we've gotten to know him," Jackson said. "We give him Christmas gifts and him and I have the same birthday so we give him birthday gifts and it's just kind of cool. We are such good friends and we have so much fun and it's just a social gathering to kind of start our day."

It isn't just coffee the group meets for. Jackson said she and other members play the lottery and once they have earned enough money, the crew hits up a local restaurant for breakfast.

"If we sort of have a bad day or something is kind of bothering us ,we can talk to them about it," Jackson said. "It just lifts you up, they are always there for us. They've got your back. It's good to have that group of people that you can depend on. If we ever need anything, somebody would come to help you, no matter what. It's just a good group of people."

Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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