Bear Creek Coffee Cafe: More than just a cup of java

Heidi Menikheim always wanted to own a caf (c). This year, her dream came true. On Feb. 5, Bear Creek Coffee Caf (c) opened in the Manlius Commons off Cazenovia Road.

"I've always dreamed of opening a caf (c)," she said. "I never thought I would do it though."

Last month, she and her husband Bob held a grand opening for both their new stores on July 12 -- Bob opened his store, the Wild Bird Center in January, and their retail outlets stand side by side.

Crediting her father-in-law for his good business sense, Menikheim said the idea to open a coffee shop next to the Wild Bird Center would hopefully attract people who aren't necessarily birders.

"So that's where I came in and I'm running the coffee shop, "Menikheim said of her good fortune. "I've never owned a business before never knew anything about coffee or how to make espresso or anything." But the former health insurance broker is completely happy. "I wouldn't want to be doing anything else," she said.

Family owned and operated

Every once in a while you might see a young blonde boy selling freshly squeezed lemonade outside the front entrance. His name is Carter and the stand -- Carter's Rockin' Lemonade -- is all his.

"I wanted to do it because I was bored every day," said Bob and Heidi's son who's as outgoing as he is cute. "My friends really love it. I do it a lot."

The caf (c) sells lemonade daily, but Carter said, "it's easier to sell outside because everybody wants coffee inside."

Their daughter Kali, who attends Chittenango High School, also helps on occasion.

"The whole family is involved," Menikheim said.

Coffee, Paninis and all that jazz

The coffee served at Bear Creek Coffee Caf (c) is always fresh because its manufacturer, Bear Creek, is a micro roaster, Menikheim said. Small batches are shipped from Indiana where Menikheim orders once a week.

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