27 Whittlesey LLC purchased the business and building owned by Bill and Sheri Thomas at 27 Whittlesey Ave., for $865,000, according to Huron County auditor’s records.
The land and building value was estimated to be worth $118,520.
27 Whittlesey LLC became a legal business April 24 and officially purchased the space at the same address Thursday. Documents from the auditor’s office show the purpose of acquiring the license is to “provide hospitality, housing, beverage and food throughout the residence at 27 Whittlesey Ave.”
The coffee shop’s new owners couldn’t be reached for comment. However, Bill Thomas, former owner along with his wife Sheri, said he thinks the upcoming changes are positive ones for the business.
“Of course, everything will be effected because there’s a new owner, but there are no plans to close down or make drastic changes at this time that I’m aware of. From what I’ve seen, they’re going to keep Sheri’s going; they’re going to keep it a coffee shop,” Thomas said.
“They’re going to make it their own in their own unique way, just like Sheri did. It’ll be unique and special to them.”
Thomas said he couldn’t comment further on the “exciting” adjustments in store because “there are very dynamic, fast-paced decisions being made.” He said he and Sheri feel comfortable leaving the new owners at the helm.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I don’t want to say we hand-picked them, but we kind of did. (The community of) Norwalk and Sheri’s is very near and dear to our heart. We never had a ‘for sale’ sign in the window. We had discussions — lots of discussions — and we came to the conclusion this would be a win-win for everybody. These are very capable new owners (who) have passion and an amazing talent. We’re really expecting that they’ll take Sheri’s to the next level.”
Thomas said their time with Sheri’s has been a real life dream come true, far exceeding any expectations they had.
“Oh my gosh, we had such great community support and I would say that it was a realized dream,” he said. “It really was.
“This was something Sheri literally put on a dream board and then we started from scratch. We had a family meeting about it with us and the kids and everybody voted. It’s been a huge part of our life ever since. Just to see the impact that Sheri and Sheri’s (Coffee House) has had on the community, it’s been hugely rewarding for us. Sheri’s for us was a community dream.
“It wasn’t meant to be (about) financial gain — that wasn’t the driving force behind it. It was about being a light in and positive force in the community. I think we did (that). One of our goals, whatever we do, wherever we go, is to leave things in a better place than the way that we found it. We want to leave it with something. We wanted to have an impact.”
The Thomases certainly did that with the Whittlesey Avenue location. Bill described the original condition of the property as “pretty much a disaster.” Originally there were two buildings, one of which was torn down to make space for a parking lot. Bill Thomas said he and his wife made a lot of renovations to the downstairs, making it into the cozy, yet modern space it is now. The couple later renovated the upstairs as a living space for their family.
Thomas said the property holds a lot of memories, but he and his wife are ready to see what life has in store for them.
“As far as selling, we’re just ready to move to the next chapter in life,” he added.
“We see it as a passing of the baton in a relay race. The idea and dream was to have Sheri’s Coffee House and we’ve had it for 14 years now. That’s incredible. It’s an amazing business. We’ve had amazing support from the community and we loved doing it. We’re just ready for the next chapter in our book. We’re literally trying to figure out (what that is). We know we want to do a lot of traveling.”
Thomas said while they don’t know all of their wish-list destinations yet, they know Charlotte, N.C. and the beaches there are a definite.
“Personally, the amount of work and impact that Sheri had is inspiring to me and inspiring to entire community,” he said. “The main point of anything about the coffee house was Sheri — it was her passion, commitment to the community and her generosity that made it. She’s very inspiring.”
Thomas said he hopes that inspiration continues to live on with the business and new owners, even effecting the downtown community with the sale.
“That’s a great price,” Thomas said when asked about the selling price of $865,000 for the business and property.
“Our hope is that’ll bring a lot of attention to downtown Norwalk. (Other spots) are not selling for a lot of money. We hope that’ll bring inspiration to downtown Norwalk, showing you can make something super valuable and offer something to the community and then people will want to buy it.”