Inspired: Kathryn Jeffers

By: Julia Fello Email
By: Julia Fello Email

There are many people who dream of starting up their own business.

One Amherst woman was inspired to do just that, after watching the Oprah Winfrey Show, but a few hiccups came along on that journey.

Kathryn Jeffers says she knew nothing about owning a coffee shop.

"My mate, Paul Stone, was a physical therapist, and I'm a teacher and a writer," she says.

But they set off on an outlandish project 6 years ago, after watching the Oprah Winfrey Show.

"Oprah turned to the audience and said, what's a decision you would have made, if you were deciding with your passion, instead of your security, and Paul said we would have bought the coffee shop 3 years ago," says Jeffers.

Little did they know, the owner of an Amherst coffee shop was looking to sell.

"What we loved was this place, and we loved that the community used this as its hub and it's one of the big gathering places in Amherst," she says.

They decided to buy it together, and began collaborating to build the coffee shop of their dreams in the town with a population of just more than 1,000.

"I started refinishing the ceilings and tin again and refinished the stained glass and walls, traveled all over," she says, "and we went to California and looked at every outdoor cafe, and all year we spent pulling together the parts and executing the redesign.

They decided to call their shop "The Morning Star."

But then their lives changed forever.

"Three weeks before we were about to execute the redesign, Paul was killed in a car accident, and I was just stunned," she says.

Instead of stopping it all, Kathryn felt inspired to keep going.

"I said, just keep creating this and one of these days you won't feel surreal, and you won't feel numb, you'll be back in your life so, in many ways this project saved me spiritually, emotionally, because I loved working on it," she says.

Kathryn's dreams came true when The Morning Star opened its doors 5 years ago, and today it's thriving.

She hopes the shop and her story will inspire others.

"It's hard not to feel Paul here today,' she says.

"I hope that this remains well past my life, if possible, and is a place where community can come together. I hope this will always be a place where people see the value of beauty, art, intellect, and ideas, and music, and paintings," she says.

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