A ‘Second Wind’ for all

Coffeeshop owner finds inspiration in family, coffee and second chances

Shawn Beebie pours a cup of his nitro cold brew coffee from the tap at Second Wind Coffee on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

JOHNSTOWN — Shawn Beebie, owner and founder of Second Wind Coffee in Johnstown, always knew he wanted to make a name for himself in the field of culinary. While working at his uncle’s pizzeria in Gloversville and mulling over his own culinary ambitions, a friend and restaurant owner gave Beebie a kernel of advice, which he took to heart.

“He always said to me that when you start a restaurant, you’ve got to start with a good cup of coffee,” Beebie said Tuesday morning, smiling broadly while sitting at one of the tables he constructed from repurposed floorboards from an old area leather mill as a steady flow of customers streamed in to receive their morning coffee. “I kind of took that a little bit further and decided to open a coffee shop.”

That kernel of advice has blossomed into Second Wind Coffee. Located at 32 W. Main St. in Johnstown, Second Wind Coffee opened officially on Feb. 23 and has already made quite a splash in downtown even in its soft open phase, drawing customers from within and outside of the community for its artisanal coffees and espressos and its unique decor. And according to Beebie, this is just the start of his ambitions.

“This is just the beginning. It starts with a good cup of coffee. From here, I’m going to build off of this and open up other places as well, which it’s going to pay homage to the area as well as bring back good culinary to the Fulton-Montgomery County area,” Beebie said.

Second Wind Coffee offers espresso-based drinks as well as drip coffee drinks, hot and iced coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, a housemade nitro cold brew on tap, and various seasonal specialties, including their current summer special — a s’more latte with toasted marshmallow, whipped cream and fudge. They also offer various specialty teas and kombuchas, house-baked cookies and muffins, New York City bagels, and smoothies. They offers numerous coffee blends — also available for purchase in both whole bean and ground form — including a house roast which is made from a blend of Colombian, Peruvian and Brazilian coffee beans.

Shawn Beebie, owner of Second Wind Coffee in Johnstown, poses for a picture outside the shop Tuesday morning. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

“We roast all of our own coffee beans and source all our beans from sustainable farms around the world,” Beebie said.

Second Wind Coffee, Beebie said, is part of a growing movement in the industry — collectively known as ‘the third-wave of coffee’ — wherein the caffeinated brew so common to households throughout the world is now being treated in the same regard as craft beers and wines.

“Like with distilleries, wineries and craft breweries, now coffee is being treated in the same regard and with the same appreciation and respect,” Beebie said. “We take fine care in how we source our beans to make sure that not only are we sourcing good quality coffee beans in their green form, but we’re also making sure that the farmers are using sustainable efforts to take care of the land and to take care of the environment, but also treat their employees humanely.”

Beebie, a Gloversville native with a business degree from Fulton-Montgomery Community College, decided to open shop in Johnstown after being made aware of the building’s vacancy while at his partner, Nacole Insogna’s yoga studio — Blooming Lotus Yoga and Wellness, located at 25 W. Main St. Through each of their businesses, Beebie and Insogna are working together with the rest of the downtown in an effort reinvigorate the area.

“Her and I, we want to build off of what we’ve done here. We want to continue to create new jobs and bring excitement back to downtown, creating more foot traffic [so that] people want to stay here rather than going to Saratoga or Albany,” Beebie said. “I want to create a place where people can relax, have fun, and gather, because that’s what I’m all about with my coffee shop. It’s about community. It’s a place to sit down and to talk. It’s a place to gather and create new friends. A lot of great inventions and ideas came from people gathering in coffee shops.”

Various memorabilia and local artifacts, including an American flag owned by Shawn Beebie's grandfather Conroy during his time as principal of Boulevard Elementary School in Gloversville, are shown on display at Second Wind Coffee at 32 W. Main St. in Johnstown on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

Beebie said one of the large draws for Second Wind Coffee is its unique espresso machines, including a “Seattle Sky Blue” machine, which according to him is the only one of its kind in upstate New York. The espresso machines are hand-built in Seattle, Washington from a small boutique company called Slayer Espresso. Beebie was able to purchase the machines due in part to a $32,357 Microenterprise grant awarded to him through the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth last October.

“I was truly blessed to be awarded the grant. It helped me do a lot of the things I’ve done in here, especially securing the espresso machines. I’m the only shop in New York that has those and not only does that set me apart but it puts me on the map as a serious coffee and espresso place,” Beebie said. “They’re like the Ferrari of the coffee industry right now and they’re unbelievable machines. They brew incredible espresso and they’re works of art. They really stand out amongst all the rusticness of the shop. They’re very modern and industrial-looking.”

A notable point to make, because for all his intention of being on the cutting edge of the coffee industry, Beebie’s goals are less focused on newness than they are renewals, reimaginings, second winds — a concept packed with meaning for Beebie, a cancer survivor, who after a successful treatment of a sarcoma tumor in 2006, was given a second chance at life.

“There is a lot of inspiration behind the name ‘Second Wind.’ Second Wind, for me has a significant meaning because I am a cancer survivor, so this is kind of like my second wind. My burst of energy,” Beebie said. “Caffeine gives you your second wind, it’s a second wind for the area, especially for the city of Johnstown, for Main Street, for the building. So it’s got a lot of meaning behind it — a second wind for the whole community. And we provide your daily second wind.”

A quick glimpse around Second Wind Coffee and it is clear that the newness of the espresso machines are in sharp contrast to the decor of the rest of the shop, which is almost entirely made up of old materials creatively and expertly repurposed by Beebie himself. The counters are assembled from the siding of an old tractor-trailer trimmed with barn siding; glove forms have been made into door handles; church pews serve as benches for tables made from floorboards. Even the toilet paper holder is made from an old wrench.

Shawn Beebie, owner of Second WInd Coffee in Johnstown uses the Slayer Espresso Machine to make a customer an espresso drink on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

“I love everything in here, because everything in here is things that were cast aside that people would take to a junk yard or they’d throw it out. I like to find a secret life in things of what it wants to be instead of what it is. Things that are trash, there’s still life in them,” Beebie said. “Everything in here is given a second wind, like myself, because I got a second chance at life, a second wind.”

The renovation of the building took Beebie nearly an entire year to complete as he methodically transformed the space to fit his vision.

“It was like a big white box in here before,” Beebie said while describing the renovation process of the building, including the restoration of the original flooring. “There were [about] 10 layers on the floors I had to tear out, and when I got down to the bottom layer above the floor there was a layer of tar paper that I had to get on my hands and knees and scrape up, and then sanded the floor and then just polyurethaned them.”

Beebie credits the artistic nature of his family background for equiping him with the skills and the vision necessary to make Second Wind Coffee a reality.

“I grew up in a family of all artists. I just had a creative knack and vision for things that I like and just kind of went for it. There’s a ton of significance and meaning and inspiration behind a lot of the stuff in here,” Beebie said.

A handmade Slayer Espresso Machine as seen at Second Wind Coffee, 32 W. Main St. in Johnstown on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

Shawn Beebie’s grandfather, Conroy Beebie, a former principal of Boulevard Elementary School in Gloversville, is one of the more personal sources of inspiration for Shawn. Conroy’s American flag from his time at Boulevard hangs in the display window of Second Wind Coffee surrounded by vintage license plates and other local artifacts, and his bicycle also rests inside the shop. On the center wall behind the counter, the front end of a 1963 Chevy C-10 pickup truck mounted just below the central menu board — an item also associated with Conroy Beebie and one that holds a special significance for Shawn.

“That’s the center piece and my favorite piece in here,” Beebie said. “When I was a kid, my grandfather always said that he wanted to get an old cool pick-up truck to go get coffee in. But unfortunately he never got the pickup truck. But the truck that’s on the wall is a 1963 Chevy C-10 pickup and the top of it is the menu board and the license plate on there is my grandfather’s. So it’s like he got his truck and it’s in my coffee shop.”

Beebie said since the opening of Second Wind Coffee in February, the community response has been exceptional.

“It’s been unbelievable. I’m truly blessed and amazed by all the outpouring of support. The people have been just crying out for a good cup of coffee and that’s my mission, to provide the area with good coffee and good comfort food,” Beebie said. “It’s definitely a lot of work, seven days a week, but it’s a lot of fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I love people-gathering and entertaining people. For me the social aspect of the job is incredible, getting to meet such a wide variety of people on a daily basis is something I’m really grateful for, and at its core lies a simple goal and that’s hospitality. That’s what I crave. I love it.”

Second Wind Coffee is currently planning a week-long grand opening celebration to prospectively take place in late August or September and will feature a variety of specialty drinks and foods, musical entertainment, and a grand opening party for the community.

Customers gather inside Second Wind Coffee on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

“We’re just trying to put the feelers out there for what the community wants. But we’re on a good path and we’re in the right direction and everybody loves what we’re doing,” Beebie said.

Second Wind Coffee is currently in the process of introducing lunch items, including sandwiches, salads, soups and specialty items like avocado toast, smoothie bowls and acai bowls, the ingredients of which will be sourced to the greatest extent possible from local farms like Rogers Orchard and Bolster Farm. Beebie is also working on expanding Second Wind’s catering capabilities through the introduction of a mobile coffee bar for private parties and weddings, and is considering the introduction of an actual food truck.

“I have a huge passion for [what I am doing] and I have several concepts already lined up, waiting to develop into fruition. I have some other tricks up my sleeve,” Beebie said.

Second Wind Coffee is currently open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., however Beebie is planning on expanding the hours by fall.

For more information on Second Wind Coffee and to see the latest updates, specials and merchandise, visit www.facebook.com/secondwindcoffee or visit them on Instagram @secondwindcoffee.

Customers gather inside Second Wind Coffee on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

Second Wind Coffee as seen from the outside. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

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