Cabell Tice has had a vision for his own coffee shop for a long time. Now, that dream has become a reality.
“This is my first time putting my thoughts of what I want to share in a café experience into a place,” said Tice, the owner of the newly opened Orchard Coffee on Depot Street. “That was definitely a really cool thing, for me — to say, ‘I want to create a feeling,’ and just be really intentional about everything in here.”
While this is his first go-round owning his own coffee shop, he’s by no means new to the coffee scene as a whole. He’s spent years learning the craft, honing his skills behind an espresso machine before he set out on his own.
“I started out in Astoria, Oregon — just this little town on the northwest coast of the state. I just started making coffee, and I learned to care about every step of the process,” he said. “I was there for just over a year, and then I moved to Boston and joined a team called Thinking Cup. That was a really high-volume café — they were probably pouring 1,000 drinks a day there.”
While he was there, Tice got interested in latte art competitions, relying on a steady hand and countless thousands of repetitions to guide him to three world championships.
“I feel like I lost every single local throwdown for six months, and then I won all of them for about six months. Then I went and got accepted for the world championships in New York, and I won that one too,” Tice said. “That was a huge surprise. It was so cool, and it kind of springboarded me into doing a lot of other cool stuff.”
Tice has moved around several times since those days, eventually winding up in Ames, Iowa, before moving to Waynesville. The allure of the mountains, abundant chances to fly fish and the small town vibe of Haywood County eventually made up his mind about locating his business here.
“I just started looking around at towns around the Smokies. I’d heard there were a lot of cool, small towns and people living outdoor lifestyles here,” Tice said. “I zeroed in on Waynesville because I think it has the demographics that work for us. It has the population, and all the things I think are required to succeed with our model.”
His mind was fully made up once he saw the building he now occupies, the former site of Cheryl’s Photography Studio. An avid photographer himself, Tice loved the idea of occupying the building where the entire town brought photos to be developed for decades. The space spoke to him, and he knew it was meant to be.
“It just kind of reminded me of buildings from Japan, like a building you’d see in Shibuya. It’s an old building that’s beautiful, and kind of its own person,” Tice said. “The building, in a lot of ways, is what brought us here. The town had what we wanted, but then we saw this space and I kind of realized this is where we were going to land.”
A vision for the business
The business is a family affair — Tice’s mother, Maria, is his partner on the business side, and his wife, Sophie, handles the fresh pastries the café serves. His younger brother, Ephraim, helps out on weekends.
The space the café occupies isn’t huge, but large expanses of open space make it feel roomier and carefully considered design choices give the impression that nothing is carelessly placed.
“I feel like this space is really intentional — everything is considered, every detail has been labored over. Nothing is just strewn in here,” Tice said. “We really care about the details and the craft in all these things.”
So far, the response to the vision for the coffee shop has been overwhelmingly positive, Tice said.
“We’ve had people really receive us well. It’s honestly so humbling to have people coming into the shop and spending time, getting coffee and really supporting what we’re doing,” he said. “When you dream about making a coffee shop that’s part of the vision — people coming in just to chat and hang out, do homework or meet up or whatever. It makes me so happy to see the space so full of people doing what I’ve dreamed about happening here.”
The shop has been on the verge of opening for months now, which has been a challenge for Tice. Some initial issues with the old building slowed their opening time frame considerably.
“You never know how long it’s going to take,” he said. “The buildup was so long because we had a lot of issues with the building we had to sort out before we could even start on the coffeeshop.”
After months of hard work, Tice said he’s thrilled to get down to the business of doing what he loves for people who appreciate the business. The first few days were long, he said, but in the end it’s all been worth it.
“I’ve been on my feet 14 hours today, and the same with yesterday,” he said on Wednesday, his second official day of business. “I just couldn’t be happier.”