In the ’70s, the brick building at 19115 Midland Drive in Shawnee was home to volunteer firefighters.
The side of the building, now painted with sunflowers, was once a garage door that opened for wailing fire trucks. Then the fire department built a larger station, packed up its hoses and traveled across the street.
One day Courtney and John Nelson, now owners of the building, looked at the old firehouse and thought: “Coffee shop?”
Yes, a great spot for a coffee shop, they agreed.
“It’s exciting,” Courtney said. “It’s something that we liked and thought would be a good addition.”
Early next year, the Nelsons hope to open Station 3 Coffee Shop inside the old Shawnee Fire Station 3. Possibly in January.
Courtney and her husband, as well as her sister-in-law, Betsy Merckens, will serve specialty coffee drinks — iced and hot lattes, cold brew with flavors — made with beans from Hammerhand Coffee in Liberty.
The couple hope to make their own syrups and provide a variety of seasonal offerings. The shop will also serve pastries or some light food options. Its full menu is still in the works.
Despite the space’s history, it won’t be filled with firehouse decor. Situated between Mill Creek and Little Mill Creek — and backing up to winding trails and Shawnee Mission Park — Station 3 will have an outdoor patio and murals that pay homage to its natural surroundings.
(So, no fire pole running through the middle of the space.)
One wall is covered in painted rolling hills. Ripples cascade down the other side of the shop, much like the creeks it neighbors.
Directly behind the shop is Twin Mill Farm, owned by the Nelsons and where they board horses.
The soon-to-be coffee shop is believed to have first been a gas station, built in the 1930s. The fire department took over in 1971 and stayed there until 1989. It housed a concrete company after that.
In 2015, the Nelsons bought the old firehouse near their farm and they and their now-grown children used it as a giant playground. John and his son are both climbers, so they installed a rocky wall to scale.
But this year, the empty-nesters decided to transfigure the space yet again after growing interested in coffee. They even traveled to coffee hub Seattle to take barista class, learning how to make art in hot lattes with milk foam.
“We just like to find unique spaces around the city or if we’re traveling and enjoy seeing what they have to offer,” Courtney said.
Being near parks and walking trails, Courtney says the farm gets a decent amount of foot traffic. They’ve gotten positive feedback from passersby who ask what their plans are for the building.
During the holiday season, they set up Christmas lights along Lawrence Road and deck an old train car they call the “Christmas Caboose.”
“There are a lot of people who are anticipating it, asking when it’s gonna be ready,” she said.
The Nelsons’ two adult children are looking forward to frequenting the new coffee space, too, Courtney said. No hard feelings about losing their old “family room.”