Small Business Stories: Norm’s Coffee Bar

Norm’s Coffee Bar is serving up Coffee, Community, and Connection

Norm’s Coffee Bar is a gathering place for all kinds of people to get quality food and coffee, have meetings, and hang out with friends. Ashleigh Lakey, Director of Norm’s, shares her heart for downtown and the people of Newton.

What is the mission of your business?

“Norm’s Coffee Bar exists to provide coffee, community, and connection. We are thrilled to daily curate a beautiful atmosphere in our historic, downtown building where meaningful conversations happen around quality food and beverage. Norm’s is a for-profit business that is owned by a non-profit organization called So Shine Foundation. To that end, Norm’s also exists as a source of funding for So Shine’s Newton initiatives: Later @ The Porch, The Table, The Porch Pantry, and The Sweet Shoppe.”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to open their own business?

“DO IT!!! For real, please do it. If you have a vision for something, no one else is going to do it for you. At some point, you just need to take the risk and choose this wild adventure of entrepreneurship for yourself! It’s the best feeling to start something new.

Before you start something new, my advice would be to posture yourself as a student of your community. Even if you’re a life-long resident, there are things you will learn that will add value to your business or ministry. It will serve you well to earn the respect of your community prior to starting anything! If a community feels valued by you, they will support you through anything- *even a global pandemic.* Thank you, Newton! 💛”

What is your favorite part of being a small business owner?

“I’ve been with Norm’s since 2015, and the best part, by far, has been the people I’ve worked alongside and the community members I’ve connected with.

Everyone goes to the coffee shop- business owners, young professionals, teachers, students, retired individuals, police officers, traveling teams, bridal parties, city and county government leaders, railway passengers, cross-country bicyclists, the homeless community… the list goes on and on.

My life is richly blessed to have cultivated relationships with each and every one. I am so thankful for all the ways I know my hometown better because of them!”

Thank you for sharing your story! To learn more about this business, you can check out their Facebook page at, or give them a call at (316) 804-4360.

Are you a small business Chamber member who would like to share your story? You can learn more about our Small Business Stories campaign and how to participate at