Written by Logan Cummings|
Photos from Logan Cummings and via @julesandthomshop on Instagram|
In case you’ve grown old of the usual Dunkin and Starbucks runs, there’s a local coffee shop open for business on Glenwood Road. Jules + Thom, a colorful coffee shop located in the same plaza as Bellamaria’s, has been in business since the end of 2019. They offer original drinks made with natural ingredients along with some fresh biscotti.
The cafe offers plenty of good vibes to all the patrons. The owners insisted that the concept and design of the shop are intended to appeal to all of the customers’ senses. The walls are painted bright yellow, and there’s original artwork hung up to give the customers a fun and cheery atmosphere to enjoy their drinks. Jules and Thom also have a phonograph set up to play vinyl records, enhancing the hippie aesthetic of the shop. Based on Google reviews of their cafe, all of these appeal to their customers and have earned the owners 5-star ratings consistently.
I regularly come to Jules + Thom with my friend, Senior Caleb Vath, to get drinks and spend time drawing. I personally love the aesthetic of their cafe and they’re some of the friendliest business owners I’ve met. Caleb commented that the cafe is “a great place to draw with friends and drink some tea.” Of course, this bright shop appeals to other high schoolers as well. Senior Maggie Guba said that “they have a lot of vegan options which are good for people with different diets.” Junior Olivia Riccio remarked that the shop “has the best energy!”. She loves the coffee and the owners, and she thinks that Jules + Thom is a great place to sit down with friends or get work done.
The owners, Jules Calini-Smith and Thom Smith, opened the shop months after getting married. Before running a coffee shop, they sold original artwork online (and they continue to do so). Their supply includes the “Doggo Collection,” a series of dog breeds over solid backgrounds, and “Weebles + Tails,” a squirrel-based comic series. They make all of their artwork with a 64-color palette, each hue being named after some feeling or memory that resonates with them. The walls of the coffee shop are painted with “Cheesin’ Yellow” and the trim is aptly done with “Glenwood Orange.”
When Jules and Thom found the space for rent, it seemed too good to be true. Since they both grew up on Glenwood Road at some point in their lives, they felt that the available space was the perfect opportunity to do something new. They decided to open up a coffee shop because they didn’t think a shop for their art would be profitable.
Their menu includes a variety of drinks named after some of the colors in their palette, including Iced Panama Red, Steamed Cotton Blue, Futuristic Violet Haze, and more. Their stock of biscotti includes flavors such as creamsicle, lemon, almond, and chocolate. These options give the shop a unique flare which is a huge part of their appeal. They use all-natural ingredients to keep their menu fresh and free of unnecessary additives and chemicals.
Jules and Thom said they look forward to expanding their menu as they grow as a business. In the next year, they want to come out with more specialty drinks and promote more locally harvested coffee beans. As a local business, they’re looking to enhance their “homemade quality” as time goes on. As things currently stand, they get their beans from about 10 miles away so that they’re fresh every week.
According to Thom, running the cafe has been a great learning experience. He has experience with marketing while Jules has experience with graphic design, so they were able to use their skills to help develop their shop. According to Jules, “word of mouth is very helpful” in getting more customers to visit. As their business grows, she says that “every week gets a little bit better.” She expressed gratitude for the customers being very friendly and the community welcoming the coffee shop. Thom commented that they “like getting to know people in town.” The hometown quality of Jules + Thom’s atmosphere is very important to the owners.
Both of the owners want to help the community as their business grows, so they’re providing opportunities for local artists to promote their own work. They’re hosting artists and musicians during Sunday pop-ups in order to help get their name out and provide a space for them to share their work. Calini-Smith said that people believing in her helped her to follow her passions. Jules and Thom would like to inspire others to do the same.
If you haven’t visited the shop before, be sure to give it a try! Jules + Thom are located at 153 Glenwood Rd Suite 1, Clinton, CT 06413. They are open Monday-Thursday 6:30 AM to 3:00 PM, and Friday 6:30 AM to 12:00 PM.