Hanover coffee cart goes brick-and-mortar

Little Bean will open later this month at 7032 Mechanicsville Turnpike. (Mike Platania)

What started as a coffee stand in a Hanover hospital has grown into a permanent shop.

Little Bean Coffee Co. is preparing to open its first brick-and-mortar location at 7032 Mechanicsville Turnpike on Oct. 21.

The business was born out of husband-and-wife duo Jett and Morgan Odle’s time at Bon Secours’ Memorial Regional Medical Center, when Morgan was a patient there awaiting the birth of their first child. Morgan also is employed as a nurse at the hospital.

Micah and Jett Odle

Jett, dissatisfied by the coffee available at the hospital at the time, said he kept sending family out to pick up Starbucks.

“I said to Morgan that we ought to put a little coffee cart in (Memorial Regional), and she said I should,” Jett Odle said. “It turns out they really wanted one.”

Jett and his brother Micah opened Little Bean Coffee Co. as a small cart in the hospital last November. Now, they’re ready to put down roots.

Little Bean has leased 2,000 square feet near the intersection of Lee Davis Road and Mechanicsville Turnpike. The hospital stand will remain open.

Odle said the shop will have seating for about 20, plus a lounge area in the back with couches. Most of the shop will be for the coffee bar.

“I want it to be kind of a fun presentation where you walk in and most of the shop is dedicated to the coffee experience,” he said. “You’ll have the big bar with old-school machines that are completely manual. It’s dedicated to the craft of coffee.”

The company started as a coffee cart in Memorial Regional Medical Center.

Seeking one good cuppa joe

Odle said the move to turn Little Bean into a brick-and-mortar store was prompted in part by locals telling him there were not many places to get a good cup of coffee in Mechanicsville.

“I think that Starbucks teed it up for the rest of us to be successful and I appreciate the work they’ve done, but they really haven’t penetrated the Mechanicsville market as much as they could,” Odle said.

“I realized there’s not really anything on the (Route) 360 corridor for people who want quality, specialty coffee. I’m happy to fill that gap.”

Little Bean has been buying its beans from Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co., which is preparing to open two cafes of its own.

Williams Bakery, a decades-old business that has two locations in Mechanicsville and one in Highland Springs, will be providing donuts, Danishes and other pastries. Odle said Little Bean will be getting bagels from New Yorker Bagels.

Prior to setting up in the hospital, Odle’s dive into coffee making resulted in a big cloud of smoke. The couple was living in Durango, Colorado, and Morgan purchased Jett a small coffee roaster for Christmas.

“I didn’t realize that coffee roasters produce a ton of smoke, so I had it running in the garage and all of a sudden, smoke starts pouring into our living room,” Jett said, laughing. “That was my first-ever experience roasting coffee.”

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