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Lori’s Cup Of Joe Offers Hot Drinks, Fresh Lunches, And a Helping Of Faith

January 16, 2019

Nestled in the hills of Hundred is a coffee shop, Lori's Cup of Joe. The shop is very much befitting of its town. It's small, yet full of heart, and it leaves an impact.

The shop, approaching its second birthday on Jan. 30, is the fruition of Joe and Lori Allen. The Allens had lived in Lori's hometown of Bethlehem Pennsylvania for years until Joe's brother-in-law passed away four years ago. At the time Lori had a home-based business, dealing with insurance. Yet the Allens felt that Joe's sister needed help, so they decided to leave home and move closer to her.

Though this might seem like a big move, the Allens' faith in God comforted them. They felt the Lord was telling them to trust in Him, and as the scripture states, to not lean on their own understanding, in all their ways acknowledge Him, and He would direct their steps.

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Lori was used to the hustle and bustle of city life, as Bethlehem was close to New Jersey and New York. However, she soon fell in love with the community, closeness, and friendships she discovered. The move wasn't quite as drastic for Joe, who grew up in Mount Morris, Pa., not too far from away.

It now takes Lori about five hours to travel to her hometown, but she's always anxious to return to her now-home. The population in Bethlehem has grown even more since she left, due to an increase in industry. Lori said she likes the small-town life much more.

Yet, though their new home has given the Allens its small-town comforts, the Allens have returned the favor.

Lori said one of the first things she noticed when she moved to the area was the lack of coffee shops. Joe, himself, was used to Dunkin Donuts coffee. And all at the same time, Lori wanted to be out of her then-profession; she felt it was a burden.

So, with the Allens' love of coffee, and feeling the need for a coffee shop, Lori took a step of faith.

Lori explained that the Allens take a lot of steps of faith though. Through a step of faith, they bought a church that they are now converting into a house. Lori said the house sits on top of a mountain, allowing a view for miles.

And, though she doesn't physically reside in it, she considers her coffee shop - located at 57 Four Seasons Drive in Hundred, next to the former West Virginia State Police barracks - like a little house, where she can serve coffee and talk to people. In two years, she has a lot of regulars, but she feels there are still a lot of people who do not know about the shop yet.

The name of the shop, of course, is a play on words, using the Allens' first names. And notably, its opening was on Lori's birthday.

She said there has not been a bad response to the shop yet.

Lori said that without God, she wouldn't have her coffee shop. She said God has totally blessed the Allens, and she feels it is His plan for them to have the shop. Notably, Lori, having the gift of hospitality, said she has always loved to serve.

Lori explained that her kids are all growing up and moving out, and naturally, she needed to do something. She has four boys, and her oldest is married. She has twins, and one just moved away and is planned to marry soon. Lori was primarily a stay-at-home mom and has had other careers out of her home, but she felt the decision to work outside of the home was right for her now.

Joe also didn't want Lori to have to commute far to work, and since Lori wanted to do something on her own, the coffee shop also served as a bit of an experiment.

Joe explained that neither he or Lori had any experience in serving coffee, or in the restaurant business, but the endeavor is working well.

Lori explained that Joe helps her in the morning and then leaves to work with his construction business. He formerly worked in the oil and gas industry but noted the hours did not leave time for his family.

Joe helps with sandwich preparation in the morning, but Lori is responsible for all the different coffee drinks she serves. She even has incorporated her children's names into some of her specialties. Her son Nicholas likes hot chocolate but isn't big on coffee; he is the inspiration for her St. Nick drink. "Jacked Up Jake" is named after another son.

Lori's Cup of Joe started with only four drinks, but she now offers many more.

Joe noted the last addition Lori's Cup of Joe needed, to make it a complete espresso coffee house, was an espresso machine. Lori said at the time she didn't begin her endeavor with a lot of money and was working with what she had. However, during the shop's infancy, the Allens were blessed with some tickets to attend a concert in Elkins. During this outing they stopped to dine at a steakhouse. The owner, who was very outgoing, chatted with the Allens, and the Allens discovered she was a fellow Christian.

The Allens told the woman how they were just a few months into their business. The owner then described an espresso machine she had stored away because it was never used, and she thought the Allens might have an interest in the machine. After dinner, they met with the owner again and further discussed the machine. The machine, although very nice, was also very pricey. However, Lori described how the owner blessed them with the offer of a payment plan. She also told the Allens they could return the machine if they changed their mind in the next 30 days.

Lori described the machine as truly being a blessing, as she can make her drinks while making sandwiches. The machine grinds the beans, which she formerly had to do manually.

Joe's construction company assisted with Lori's endeavor by creating the building for the shop. Joe said Lori wanted a log cabin, and he had never seen anything like it. However, he had an idea and went with it.

He said he knew he couldn't use real concrete, because it would crack if the building was moved. Thus, the outside of the building is made of foam. No one realizes this, unless they are closely examining the building.

Joe said if ever necessary, he would build the shop the same away again, as it has worked out nicely.

Thankfully, Joe has not had to rebuild the shop, though months after its opening, Lori's Cup of Joe was involved in the flood that devastated the Town of Hundred in Summer 2017. Lori described photos from that time, in which the building looked like a little boat upon a river.

Yet, Lori describes the scene as a "beacon in the night." There was damage to the building, yet the small shop stood strong and stayed in place. The Allens took this as a sign that they were supposed to be there.

Lori's Cup of Joe is unique in that it serves its customers more than just coffee and sandwiches. It can also be said that Lori's Cup of Joe serves a bit of hope, through prayer with customers. Lori explained how, sometimes, people who need prayer will stop. Thus, Lori will reach out her drive-thru window and pray with her customers.

The Allens like to believe that they are letting their light shine and spreading their Christian faith. They said they do not push their faith on anyone, yet they are deeply rooted in it, and they are open to discussion. Notably, a prayer box is posted outside of the shop, where people can leave prayer requests. Also, a cross stands nearby, a remnant from a cross walk held in Hundred last year.

One could certainly say the Allens' faith in God, and their steps of faith, have reaped a fair share of blessings. Notably, after Joe constructed the Lori's Cup of Joe building, other individuals took notice and asked Joe for help on other jobs. Joe had so much work that he has now obtained his license as a contractor. Joe said he has not had to look for work since building Lori's shop.

"This is the happiest time in our lives, doing what we want to do. The Lord will give you your desires if you are faithful," said Joe.

Lori's Cup of Joe is located right beside of the former West Virginia State Police barracks in Hundred. It is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.



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