Photo caption: The HideAway Cafe in downtown Northfield Megan Lu/The Olaf Messenger
The HideAway Coffeehouse, a family business located in downtown Northfield, serves beverages, sandwiches, and many other items, all the while fostering a welcoming environment for their customers. “When people walk in [the HideAway], I want them to think they’re walking into our house,” HideAway owner Joan Spaulding said in an interview with The Olaf Messenger. “You can have eighty-year olds, college kids, Republicans, Democrats, a Bible study group, a group of atheists all at the same time, and nobody feels out of place. I wanted [the HideAway] to be a very welcoming place and I think we’ve accomplished that.”
Spaulding and her husband, Jim, started their coffeehouse career with nearly zero knowledge about coffee, but were dedicated to learning how to run a coffeehouse. “Neither of us drank coffee. We had no idea what an espresso machine was,” Spaulding said. “We read books on how to start a coffeehouse and went on coffeehouse tours.”
The James Gang was their first coffeehouse, but a year after starting the HideAway in 2006, the Spauldings sold the James Gang coffeehouse to focus on running the HideAway. The first seven years of owning the coffeehouse was a challenging time as the business was slow to yield a profit. “We kept on believing that we could do it,” Spaulding continued. “Eventually we were gaining traction, and people saw what we were doing, and we became the place in Northfield for people to come.” The HideAway Vault, a separate business from the HideAway Coffeehouse, was founded by their daughter.
Community involvement is an important part of how HideAway operates. “Every Northfield event that asks us, we donate to them,” Spaulding said. “As long as you’re Northfield we’re going to support you.” For their coffee, the establishment buys from a roaster in the Twin Cities called True Stone who buys from families instead of big farms. “We always wanted to make sure that we gave people great coffee that was ethically sourced,” Spaulding said. They also buy their food locally when they can.
During Thanksgiving morning, the coffeehouse provides free scones and coffee for anyone who comes by, including people who are running the Turkey Trot, a 5K run/walk around Northfield. HideAway also hosts a free dinner on Christmas Day in which they set up tables family-style to foster a sense of community so no one sits alone. “The whole idea of our Christmas dinner is not necessarily for people who can’t afford it, but also for people who are by themselves, and we don’t want anyone to be by themselves over Christmas,” Spaulding said.
Spaulding also wanted to applaud HideAway’s staff for the work they put into creating a welcoming environment. “We take great pride in our staff,” Spaulding said. “The thing I’m the most proud of is that everyone feels good when they come in and leave here, and that has to do with our staff.”