New Coffee Shop Adding To Revitalization Of Downtown Fort Smith

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- What the owners call their quirky corner of downtown, the Fort Smith Coffee Company is drawing in foot traffic and adding to the revitalization of Downtown Fort Smith in just its first few days of business.

What started as a dream while living in Australia, Gabe and Kaity Gould brought their aspirations to life by opening their own coffee company here in the River Valley.

"That's where I learned about the bean roasting process," owner Kaity, said. "We just had a passion for coffee and decided to start hobby roasting for ourselves and then wanted to share that with the community."

The coffee company is continuing to add fresh storefronts to the area and even residents said they are noticing a big difference.

"People are [coming] from Fayetteville to Fort Smith to look at the Unexpected Project," said resident Matt Hominick. "We have people coming in from all over the region and the metroplex area, coming to see the Unexpected, revitalizing the local businesses down here. I would say, if you think Downtown Fort Smith is dead, you're dead wrong. You need to come down and check it out and enjoy what downtown Fort Smith has to offer."

Customers said it's the local businesses that make Fort Smith what it is.

"It vitalizes the local economy," Hominick said. "You look at downtown, the food trucks that are popping up, the new local businesses. It's supporting local jobs, local people in the community that are investing back into the community, so that's always a positive thing."

The Goulds took their time with getting their business going, but wanted to make it unique.

"It's this quirky corner of downtown history," Kaity said. "We love the fresh vibe down here and we're just excited."

The building is art-deco, which is a common style of some of the newer businesses popping up along Garrison Avenue.

"With the garage doors and windows, this is exactly what we wanted," Kaity said. "We wanted it light and airy, natural light. I think it makes people happier to be in a bright place."

The owners of Fort Smith Coffee Company are excited for their new venture and said they look forward to getting to know their customers.

"My passion is people," Kaity said. "I like coffee, but I like people more."