New coffee shop owners face pandemic shortly after opening

PERKED UP: Farewell's Max Puterbaugh prepares a beverage for pickup while 5-year-old Maxwell takes a coffee break inside the currently closed interior. Photo courtesy of Farewell

In the 18 months Max Puterbaugh spent on the grueling rehab of the South Slope building that had long housed JJ’s Tires, he was also building a future customer base, one passer-by at a time.

“People in the neighborhood were really curious,” he says. “They would look in the windows and ask what we were doing.”

What he, his father-in-law and brother-in-law were up to was transforming the dilapidated corner building on Southside Avenue into the pristine space that would become South Slope Cheese Co. on one side, and Puterbaugh and his wife Jordane’s coffee shop, Farewell, on the other.

“Jordane and I had a coffee truck in Canton, Ohio,” says Puterbaugh. “When her brother and his wife bought this building, they said we should put a coffee shop in. We’ve always been drawn to Asheville, so we moved down here with our two boys and started the demo.”

The concept for Farewell was a cozy, serene daytime and nighttime hangout, spotlighting select roasters and winemakers. The business opened quietly on Jan. 13 with no advertising and a small sign. “We saw a lot of people who had been watching the build-out, then coffee people heard of us, and we had a solid, busy two months,” says Puterbaugh.

It was two months and two days after it opened, to be exact, before Farewell closed for two weeks in response to COVID-19. But looking at the roll-up window that fronts the store, Puterbaugh saw an opportunity to resume business via takeout.

“It’s been great,” he says. “As it turns out, we were lucky we opened in January because our customer base was local and they have stayed with us.”

Among those locals is pastry chef Ashley Capps, introduced to Puterbaugh by South Slope neighbor and leather craftsman Billy Moore. The mouthwatering Instagram photos of sweet and savory items Capps is delivering to Farewell have driven traffic to the nascent business. “Farewell was built on relationships,” he says. “They are our backbone.”

Call ahead at 828-505-2721 or order at Farewell’s window at 11 Southside Ave. For more details, visit×6.


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About Kay West
Kay West began her writing career in NYC, then was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, including contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. In 2019 she moved to Asheville and continued writing (minus Red Carpet coverage) with a focus on food, farming and hospitality. She is a die-hard NY Yankees fan.

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