Gotcha Latte Cafe and Gotcha Computers fills demand for a hangout spot for all ages

Gotcha Latte Cafe and Gotcha Computers fills demand

Barista Chance Reiniesch prepares to pull an espresso shot for Iced Raspberry White Mocha. Reiniesch, also a gifted musician, will be performing his original acoustic pop songs at Gotcha Latte Cafe Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. Coal Country Times photos by Jordan Grucza.

By JORDAN GRUCZA

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

When Kim and Mark Henderson bought a downtown Gillespie building last November to expand their out-of-the-home computer repair business, they noted they had more space than they needed.

“Since the space is so big, I thought, ‘We need a coffee shop in town,’” K. Henderson said. “We need a place for kids to come and hang out. I thought it would be a nice place for the community to get together, elderly people and young alike, and drink coffee, relax and have a nice environment.”

The result was the hybrid business of Gotcha Computers and the Gotcha Latte Cafe, which shares a divided but integrated space with computers available for public use and a comfortable seating area for those who want to interact face-to-face or enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.

Joy and entertainment for all ages is central to the mission statement of the business.

“I’m a sixth grade teacher, and all I hear from the kids all the time is they have nothing to do,” K. Henderson said. “So I thought, what if we had a gaming place in our town? Not just computer games but chess, cards, Jenga and board games.”

The business opened its doors on Sept. 14 and had its grand opening at 6 a.m. and ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. on Oct. 1.

Gotcha Latte Cafe offers all manner of espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, cold brew coffee, frappes, and of course a standard cup of coffee brewed with Black Rabbit beans from Hillsboro. Donuts and other pastries are delivered Tuesday through Saturday from B & K Bakery, located in Mt. Olive.

K. Henderson hopes that in the future they will offer smoothies, wraps and soups.

Gotcha Latte recently began offering Coffee Club memberships, which costs $12 a week for unlimited black coffee or $40 for the whole month. Also, with the membership, customers get personalized mugs with their names on it, which the cafe keeps and washes for them.

“We’re still figuring out what works best in terms of hours and what we have to offer,” K. Henderson said. “We started out with just three syrups and whole milk for the lattes.”

Now there is an entire counter full of Da Vinci syrups and just about the entire range of milks and milk alternatives like soy, coconut and almond.

As early on in the process the Hendersons are, they’re already seeing they are filling a need of the community, with regulars who arrive every day at the same time in the morning.

The cafe has employed six baristas in high school and college who K. Henderson describes as reliable, dependable and passionate about their work.

One employee, Chance Reiniesch, will be performing his original acoustic pop songs from 7 to 9 p.m. at the location Saturday, Oct. 12. Reiniesch has performed in Los Angeles with the A Capella Academy, a group with a ten percent acceptance rate, with the privilege of performing alongside the world-famous a capella group Pentatonix at the event.

Among other talent attached to the business, Kennedy Clark, a student of K. Henderson’s, has begun displaying and selling her artwork at the cafe.

As far as training the employees, full-time Gillespie Middle School teacher K. Henderson stated she had no experience with running a coffee shop, so she turned to Carlinville’s Plaza Cafe for their expertise, stating that owners Jim and Gaye Suhling were very giving and supportive with her efforts.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” K. Henderson said. “I opened the business on a whim. The Suhlings were amazing people and really took me under their wing. They even gave me sauce pumps when I was desperate for new ones.”

Kamron Hartpence, who worked at the Plaza Cafe, migrated to Gotcha Latte to train other employees in the barista arts and now is a permanent employee himself.

On the Gotcha Computers side of the business, there are three public computers offereds for personal use such as homework or gaming on their LAN network, with the hope of acquiring more computers in the near future.

Along with idle use available to the public, Gotcha Computers is planning on hosting gaming tournaments, possibly with a large flatscreen TV for spectators to watch.

Gotcha Computers owner M. Henderson  and his employees offer a variety of computer services such as repair, wiring, on-site computer work, security cameras and cash register set-up, to name a few.

One employee of his, Pete Visintin, is part of the Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities Program out of Effingham and is very interested in doing computer work.

“This is a great learning experience for Pete,” said K. Henderson. “He gets training from Mark and in turn helps Mark grow his business.”

Ultimately, M. Henderson’s vision is to do for young people what the Boy and Girl Scouts do, “except with computers.”

Gotcha Latte Cafe and Gotcha Computers is located at 102 S. Macoupin in Gillespie Monday-Friday, 6 to 10:30 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, call (217) 839-5016 or visit Gotcha Latte Cafe/Gotcha Computers on Facebook.