Coffee builds community

TORRINGTON – Taryn Kilty hadn’t always planned to put a coffee shop in the back of her store, but after looking at the space, she just couldn’t say no.

“I have just always loved coffee shops,” she said. “When I was going to college, that was my place where I would love to go study. I just love the atmosphere and just the community feel that you get.”

The “vibe” as Kilty calls it is a feeling of togetherness between members of the community. Friends often gather around warm mugs filled with creamy coffee, and shops like The Old Moose Press are bound to see their fair share of first dates.

Kilty owns Farms Girls Boutique on Main Street and The Old Moose Mercantile on 21st Street along with The Old Moose Press in the back of The Mercantile. She first bought the boutique from her mother-in-law in February 2020. After she and her husband bought the Moose Lodge, they converted it into The Old Moose Mercantile, which opened November 2020. Now, a year after opening the main shop, The Old Moose Press is open and ready for business in the back of the shop. It first opened Nov. 18.

In the few days since its opening, the coffee shop has seen busy business hours full of community members looking for a little pick-me-up. Team members have worked hard to meet their customers’ every need and want in a 12 oz. latte.

“Honestly, going into this, I did not know a thing [about making coffee],” Kilty said. “Luckily, I have a great team member, Shalyn, who had been a barista, and then we have a great roaster from Fort Collins…it was like a godsend. They told me all the equipment that I should order and our main barista Shalyn has trained up all of my team, but literally last Monday before we opened, I had a crash course in making coffee.”

Even within just a week of opening, Kilty has learned valuable lessons to pass on.

“I think it just goes to show you that you don’t have to know everything, or about anything really. You can always learn and just roll with it,” she said. “Just surround yourself with people that know what they’re doing.”

In an effort to maintain a feeling of community in her shop, Kilty has opened its doors to community events like the charcuterie class held there on Nov. 20. So many people wanted to participate, Kilty had to turn some of them away.

“My mission with a coffee shop is creating that community base,” she said. “So, I think between holding classes or renting it out for small events, I think that [holding classes like the charcuterie class] definitely is something that we would love to continue to do.”

Along with classes, Kilty has overseen a new “I See You!” initiative at The Old Moose Press. Every week, team members deliver free coffee to a deserving business or organization in the community. For its inaugural “I See You!” delivery, team members delivered coffee and treats to the Torrington Police Department, where the delivery was received with joy.

Those looking for more information about upcoming events or how to nominate a business for an “I See You!” delivery should visit The Old Moose Mercantile’s Facebook page.

“There’s something about a cup of coffee,” Kilty said. “Just the warmth of it and the fact that you can gather around a cup of coffee and enjoy friends. There’s just something about a cup of coffee that I really love.”


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