Move over High Point Coffee. A new coffee shop has arrived.
The Shelter on Van Buren – located under Neilson’s, where the department store’s former children’s section was once housed – has been renovated to create a homey and laid-back feel – a perfect fit for a coffee shop that is equipped with a stage for bands to play and an abundance of tables for people to occupy.
The Shelter, owned by the same owners of Cups, an espresso coffee cafe on Jackson Avenue in Oxford, opted for opening a cafe on the Square that could offer a more diverse and unique selection than their previous coffee shop. In fact, even the name, The Shelter, has a unique history.
“The name Shelter on Van Buren was decided upon after hearing Will Lewis (the founder of Neilson’s) describe how the space below Neilson’s had been used as a shelter from the storm in years gone by,” co-owner Lee Bowie wrote in an email.
The Shelter differs from Cups mainly in that Cups sells only coffee and tea while the Shelter is a cafe that opens early and serves beverages as well as a variety of healthy, organic foods.
“We wanted to open a place where we could enjoy music and entertainment at an earlier hour than most things in Oxford,” Bowie said.
Many students who used to frequent High Point have even begun to shift alliances to the Shelter.
“It has a bigger space and has a more cafe feel,” said Oxford High Junior Madeline Henderson. “High Point has gotten so crowded that it’s just hard to focus.”
Said fellow OHS junior Liza Carole Renfroe, “I really like the Shelter. It’s pretty spacious and really relaxed inside, and the coffee is really good.”
Students also opt for the more quiet atmosphere that the Shelter offers over High Point when completing homework or studying for tests.
“I’ve been to the Shelter to work on homework, and it has a really nice study atmosphere,” Renfroe said.
Said Henderson, “The Shelter has a more toned down atmosphere; you can sit down and just get stuff done.”
Overall, the hope that Bowie has for the shelter is to provide a spot that people of Oxford enjoy.
“We hope Shelter is a pleasant spot where customers might enjoy regional coffee, delicious meals prepared where possible with locally-sourced ingredients, healthy juices and smoothies,” Bowie said.