, Derry, New Hampshire

January 30, 2014

Women plan downtown Derry cafe

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — When Carmel Shea and Melanie Davis end a bike ride on the local rail trail, the=y often hope for a chance to sit down and enjoy coffee and a light lunch.

As downtown Derry has little to offer for a spot like that, the two friends decided to bring their own version of a comfortable coffee shop to town.

Shea and Davis plan to open The Grind Rail Trail Cafe in the spring at 103 Manning Street in the Granary building.

The idea was to bring a great atmosphere to the downtown, offering a specialty coffee bar, light food fare, and a “pit stop” for people out and about enjoying the trail.

The cafe will also offer Internet access to customers and seating for just relaxing.

“It will be a cozy, Internet cafe, very comfortable,” Davis said.

The friends say they use the local trail system often, riding into downtown Derry after journeying all the way to the Salem portion of the connected trail system and back again.

“We got off our bikes one day after a long ride,” Davis said, “and realized at this point how little there was down here.”

She said the pair always talked about starting a business together.

The coffee shop idea seemed to be the perfect answer.

The women began an online fundraising campaign through online benefit site Kickstarter, but did not reach the financial goal the “all or nothing” site required.

Their goal was to raise $25,000. The cost to get the cafe up and running could be as high as $50,000, Davis said.

The women even did their own study of foot traffic in the downtown area at various times to see what sort of customer base they might attract.

Davis and Shea are now going through the approval process with the town and said everyone is being very supportive and helpful.

They said support is high through The Grind’s online site and through Facebook. The women are selling merchandise already to help offset start-up costs.

“We’re about to take a shoestring budget and make a go,” Shea said.

Support for the plan has been high.

“People are very receptive,” Davis said. “A lot of people want us to succeed.”

To add more features to the new cafe the women will use industrial styling in the decor to honor the history of the Granary building.

To learn more about The Grind Rail Trail Cafe visit or the cafe’s Facebook page.