Coffee with a smile

Shellattés is a home away from home in Neenah

Posted on Aug 31, 2020 :: Small Business Spotlight
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

A quick scan of the Facebook reviews for Shellattés reveals how customers feel about this Neenah coffee spot — unique, amazing, hidden gem, feels like home. It quickly becomes clear that while customers might come for the coffee, they stay for the food, atmosphere and customer service, thanks to owner Shelly Baeten.

After finding herself without a job due to corporate downsizing in May 2011, Baeten decided it was time to return to what she loves best: hospitality. “I love early mornings and coffee,” she says.

She began working on a business plan and Shellattés (that’s “Shel” plus “Latté”) opened its Commercial Street doors in December 2011.

From a young age, Baeten learned to love food and cooking from her grandmother. “Grandma Kuehl was such an excellent role model, cook and baker. I loved watching and helping her in the kitchen,” she says. “Going to her house is a favorite childhood memory.”

This homey atmosphere is front and center at Shellattés, from the friendly staff to the comfy furniture to the collection of used books available for purchase. “We offer different rooms for different moods,” Baeten says. “If you want to know what’s going on in the community, you sit up front. If you just want to get some work done, pick one of our quieter rooms.”

In addition to caffeinated beverages, Shellattés serves breakfast and lunch, plus a variety of baked goods and desserts. But it’s the oatmeal that keeps customers coming back for more.

“Our baked oatmeal is our No. 1 seller,” Baeten says. “We serve it warm with either yogurt or whipped cream, and every day we offer a variety of types, like Door County cherry pecan, pumpkin chocolate chip and blueberry lemon.”

Like other restaurants, the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for Shellattés. “It’s a totally different business today than it was three months ago,” Baeten says.

The restaurant resumed indoor seating in late June in addition to its outdoor patio dining. Shellattés also is keeping the front dining room empty for carry-out orders. Baeten says that while it’s been challenging for the cafe to maintain its bottom line, the business has weathered the storm through hard work and the support of its customers.

“Our customers have been absolutely wonderful during the past several months,” Baeten says. “From notes of encouragement, phone calls, to special surprise deliveries, it’s helped us keep our chin up!”