Old Town Coffee Group: The coffee is hot, the advice lukewarm

Old Town Coffee group. (Photo Samantha Golden, Clovis Roundup)

17TH NOVEMBER 2022- You’ve probably seen a group of friendly folks, in Old Town Clovis at the corner of 4th Street and Pollasky Avenue sitting along the sidewalk in folding chairs.

They can be heard greeting each other with a “Hey how are you? I missed you!” or chatting about pictures, family, old jobs and buildings around town. It’s all part of that “Clovis Way of Life”

Marty Watt, owner of 4th Street Antique Mall, knows this crew very well. “I’ve encouraged them for three years,” Watt says, “It’s become a social group.”

Watt explains that she bought the building on the corner of 4th and Pollasky “22 and a half years ago, 23 next summer,” and that there has always been a group of folks who hang out on the corner. “They would sit here in the shade and wait for farmers market,” and when it came time to open the store, she says, “I made up certificates of thanks and appreciation and I went out and made a big deal of presenting the certificates, thanking them for guarding the door for two years, while the building was vacant.”

What stuck after 22 and a half years is that Watts said ,“They will always have a place out here.”

It’s a simple arrangement. Viola Garcia says that the group is like a found family, and she started coming around for coffee with other members of a three-wheeled motorcycle group.

Others heard through friends about a nice place to have coffee in the mornings. Watts says, “Some people get up early and go to the gym before work, some people come here.”

Nobody bothers to label it, it’s just some nice socializing they do most mornings. But it’s a tight enough group that, when regulars can’t show up, they’re missed.

Everyone has their own days that they come out. Some, only once or twice a week, others come out every morning. “It’s different every day; sometimes it’s five, sometimes it’s  twenty-five people out there,” says Watts.

Ron Sundquist joins the group on Tuesdays, and talks up the group, saying “it’s the greatest friendships you will ever make when you come to this group.”

Apparently, it’s a part of small town life to have a coffee group.. Watts says, ““I’m from a small town in Missouri, in the Ozarks, and it’s very common to have a small town coffee group.”

Lots of the folks on the corner are from similar small town backgrounds, so it’s no wonder they carry on the tradition here in Clovis. 

They’ll talk politics, current events, government money, national news, whatever’s brought up. But an important note is that there are never any sour feelings, nobody gets too worked up about topics of discussion. 

When a passersby needs to walk between the rows of chairs spanning the sidewalk, they might look intimidated at first, but someone always greets them and lets them know it’s alright. Sundquist says, “When we’re out here, the sideways becomes the catwalk!”

Besides, if you need it, this group is pretty good with directions.

Some nice morning, consider bringing your own chair out to the corner of 4th Street and Pollasky Avenue, or use one of the extra chairs if they’re available. Have Leeland Reinhardt pour you some home-brewed coffee from his thermos, and enjoy the good company and pleasant weather.