CANTON — At long last, a coffee shop has come to Canton.

Papertown Coffee celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting Monday that was attended by other local business owners, town officials and curious residents alike. Prior to the ribbon cutting, owners Russ and Liz Grimmett held a soft opening on June 1. They said since then, the only surprise has been how many customers they’ve served.

“We’ve had a lot of locals in and a lot of people traveling from Asheville and other areas to check out the shop, too,” Liz said, adding that she hopes it becomes a place where people can meet for any occasion.

Luckily, the couple lives just above their business, which they run entirely themselves.

“It’s the shortest commute we’ve ever had,” Russ joked.

Alderwoman Kristina Smith was the one to pique the Grimmetts’ interest in Canton. Smith, who has known Liz’s family since 2005, said that in October of 2017, they began working to bring a coffee shop to the town.

“Coffee shops are integral parts of communities,” she said in an email. “They welcome, warm, and are approachable places where people — in all life stages — can gather. From the beginning, Liz and Russ felt the gritty spirit of Canton and the entrepreneurial opportunity. After they drove around all of Canton, they felt like downtown had the most potential for what they were wanting to do, share their passion for coffee with Canton and the larger Haywood County community.”

Smith said she saw from the beginning that Liz and Russ would be assets to the community and that their heart was in it.

“They believe in theiproduct and the community they are serving,” she said.

At the ribbon cutting, Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers had high praise for Papertown Coffee and its owners’ “entrepreneurial spirit.” Needless to say, he was thrilled to see the new business diversify the downtown area.

“They were down east, and it would have been a little easier to open a coffee shop there,” he said.

But Russ and Liz said they’ve been determined to open up shop in Canton, and although they ran into plenty of snags while renovating the building, they said officials from the town and the county have been great to work with.

“It was pretty challenging. It took much longer than we thought it would,” Liz said. “It mainly was just that it was an old building and there were a lot of surprises. But as far as working with the town … everybody was great and helpful to work with.”

And now that they’re set up, Liz and Russ are hoping to settle in and make Canton their home.

“We’re excited to be here and proud to be here, and hopefully Canton is proud of us as a coffee shop,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll be here for a long while.”

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