New business combines coffee, good reading material

Jeff Shaprio knew just what he wanted to do when he retired from the IT (information technology) business: open up his own coffee shop and newsstand in Marathon.

Keys News and Coffee is located on the west end of town, right in front of the Monroe County government building and features pastries, books, gifts, a huge selection of magazines and a smattering of tables to sit and enjoy it all.

The main draw, though, is the bean.

Shapiro brews and sells a custom blend of coffee (secret recipe!) in a variety of flavors. Customers can order iced brews or espresso-based drinks such as a macchiato, latte, mocha or cappuccino. The Frozers® are smoothie-like coffee drinks with add-ins such as mocha, chocolate, caramel and even ice cream, although Keys News and Coffee also sells traditional fruit-based smoothies, too. And if you just want a regular cup of coffee, you can get that too; a small cup costs just $1.49. (There are plenty of old-school coffee drinkers left in the world, and Keys News and Coffee understands our needs!)

The coffee shop also sells one-pound bags of whole bean coffee. Rotating specials include Costa Rican Tarrazu, Indonesian Celedes Kalossi, Brazilian Santos and Guatemalan Antiqua.

“They are all medium roasts,” said Shapiro, adding the bags start at $12.

With coffee in hand, patrons are now ready to browse the books and periodicals. The shop has at least the top 10 of the New York Times bestsellers neatly arranged on the shelf, and from there it’s just a few more steps to be lost in a sea of magazines. There are more than 500 magazines for sale, and more being added on a daily basis. They range from current events to travel to art.

“We have 29 genres on our racks,” Shapiro said on a recent afternoon, interrupted from scanning the pages of the most recent Car and Driver. “I’ve been reading Car and Driver since I was 14 years old. I also like the aviation magazines because I used to fly years and years ago. And, of course, the computer magazines.”

Shapiro’s corporate life in IT was a strange but true preparation for his second career as a coffee shop owner. He worked first at Frye’s, a large electronics department store, then Circle K, getting to know the retail side from his computer perspective. He’s also an IT journalist, as well as taught the subject at the community college level.

Shapiro said he spent six months researching the market before deciding on Marathon.

“I’d vacationed here many, many years ago and most recently spent time in the Caribbean. The Keys has that same island flavor without having to get your passport out,” he said.

Keys News and Coffee has indoor and outdoor seating, plus a secret gate from the garden that opens right into the Marathon Government Center for coffee fans who want a shortcut. Oh, and free wi-fi, of course.

Keys News and Coffee is located at 2960 Overseas Highway. It is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to six p.m. Friday through Sunday. Sign up for the e-mail loyalty program or check out their page on Facebook for more specials.


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