A Unique Blend

Anthony Hellmueller

Spencer’s Coffee House appears to be an ordinary place from the outside, but when the cafe’s vaulted door is opened, customers get their fill of creative art, cozy surroundings and a multitude of blended coffee.

Western art professor Jeff Leake owns the coffee house, located in the middle of Bowling Green’s Fountain Square Park. He and his wife Tara and his mother-in-law, Jean Murzi, run the coffee shop, which serves several blends of coffee, soups, sandwiches and desserts.

Jeff Leake said he wanted to open a coffee shop that was similar to those he saw in the bay area of California. The Leakes said they especially enjoyed the upscale nature of the shops.

“They projected an atmosphere where people can sit down and gain some peace and quiet,” Tara Leake said.

But Spencer’s, which opened in October of 2001, is not just a carbon copy of those coffee shops. Jeff Leake said he has his own unique design for the shop, which is inspired by his art.

The first thing a customer sees is the red glow of decorative lighting which surrounds the window.

Past the glowing lights sits a variety of furniture. From cast iron to satin, each piece has its own character.

A spectrum of bright colors rests along the shop’s stone walls in paintings of outdoor scenes and abstract figures. Jeff Leake said he displays his art and sometimes hosts exhibits of student’s work on the stone walls in the shop.

“Not a thing in the place is consistent, even the tables and chairs are different from each other,” said Louisville freshman Terri Alter. “It’s very unique.”

As the activity in downtown Bowling Green has grown, so has the business at Spencer’s.

“We are still trying to watch and figure out how everything works at this point,” Jeff Leake said.

Around the corner from Spencer’s is the Java House, another coffee shop. Jeff Leake said although the Java House is a competitor, the shop draws a younger clientele than his.

Spencer’s generally serves those that work in the downtown area in places like the courthouse and other law offices.

Jeff Leake said that the quiet, laid back feeling of the shop also appeals to students.

“We offer a nice place to study,” he said.

Jeff Leake said they are currently organizing several concerts and art displays at the shop. Plans include an art exhibit for Western’s Art Guild and a concert featuring the Lost River Band.

“We look forward to expanding and improving,” Jeff Leake said.

Spencers is located on 915 College Street. The shop is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Reach Anthony Hellmueller at [email protected]