Sitting in front of the large bay window in the shop last week, Tice, 28, gazes out onto Depot Street. It’s day three of having the doors open, and another sunny day in this mountain paradise. Natural light streams into the cozy space. Though the three-story 1938 art deco building has been an architectural fixture of Waynesville, it’s remained empty for the better part of a decade.
“This place has been all kinds of things — a photo studio, stained glass studio, law office,” Tice said. “But, nobody ever renovated it because it was never owner-operated.”
Tice, his wife (Sophie), three kids (ages 5 and under), his mother (Maria, a co-owner) and little brother (Ephraim) all took over the structure once it was purchased, the shop on the first floor and the family living upstairs. Their presence immediately added a much-needed sense of place, warmth and beauty to a building many have forgotten about in passing.
“This shop is everything to us,” Tice smiled. “After seeing this building and getting acquainted with this town, it was a no-brainer to come here.”
Tice has been on a long journey that has ultimately landed him and his family in Waynesville. Born and raised in Hawai’i (on Maui, then Kauai), he left for Astoria, Oregon, at age 14. When he was 18, he started working in a coffee shop at the base of a hotel in Astoria.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to go to college and study some things. I wasn’t really passionate about anything other than photography and music,” Tice said. “And I started working in a coffee shop because I wanted to find a way to pay for losing money on the road as a singer-songwriter — touring was a lot of fun, but it was nothing you could put your hat on.”
From there, he headed to Boston, Massachusetts, to live with his brother and figure out the next step. After landing a job with Thinking Cup coffee shops there, he helped launched several locations for the popular company. He even won three World Latte Art Championships (designs created in the texture of the foam) during that period, too.
“I was enjoying it, but I wasn’t home very much. We just had our first child, and I had to make a decision — do I want to sit here and chase a salary at this company or do something that’s better for my family? So, I left,” Tice said. “I started consulting for a lot of different coffee companies and shot photos at weddings, did portraits and photographed businesses. I was based again out of Oregon and shooting full-time — always somewhere cool and fun.”
After doing consulting work and launching stores for Revelator Coffee in Atlanta, Georgia, Tice became enamored with the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. After wandering into Waynesville and finding the art deco building, he was sold on the idea of relocating his entire family and starting his own coffee shop in town.
Cabell Tice. Brindley Faile photo
Aside from the main use of Methodical Coffee (Greenville, South Carolina), Tice will also have a different coffee company featured each month, all of which organic and sourced responsibly. There’s also a food component, with a commercial baking kitchen in the back, where Sophie creates made-from-scratch pastries each morning (small plates and lunch specials are planned for the future).
So, why the name Orchard Coffee?
“Orchards take a long time to cultivate. I grew up running around an orchard in Hawai’i picking guavas. All of my siblings and I grew up on that property,” Tice said. “So, what do I want to represent my journey to this coffee shop? It took 10 years to get to where I can have my own space and this is what I want to share with you.”
Alongside the rotating artwork from well-known regional artists, there are also plans for pop-up acoustic concerts in the near future, which will feature old friends and new that Tice has crossed paths with over the years. Within this wild and wondrous moment Tice and his family find themselves currently in, he looks at the shop as not only the end of one chapter, but also the fresh start of another.
“With an orchard, it takes about seven years before you get your fruit,” Tice said. “And then once you get there, you’re not done, you’ve only just begun when you start to bear fruit — we’ve created this space, and now we’re looking forward to welcoming people in.”