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Grounds for success

On a breezy Thursday morning, Moxie Cafe & Market owner Allison Hamik, standing, chats with customers, from left, Sophia Jones, Cat Prescott and Marla Hassell at a fire table on the coffee shop's patio. The new business is the first tenant in Meadowbrook Square, a KDA Homes project at North Mountain and Fair Oaks avenues. Photo by Jim Flint
Moxie Cafe & Market barista Sunny Cerbone pours a vanilla latte for a customer. The coffee shop is open 8 to 3 daily. After a May grand opening, the shop will be open 7 to 7 daily. Photo by Jim Flint
Moxie Cafe & Market latest entry in Ashland’s brimming coffee scene

Allison Hamik, who lives in Ashland’s Meadowbrook Park II neighborhood, was curious about the large building going up at the top of the hill.

“I watched it being constructed for a year,” she said, “and couldn’t shake the vision of a coffee shop on the ground level.”

What does a woman with a vision do? This one made it happen. She opened Moxie Cafe & Market in early March as the building’s first tenant.

Located at 691 Fair Oaks Ave. (at North Mountain Avenue), Moxie already has become a popular gathering place for residents of the Meadowbrook Park, Mountain Meadows and North Mountain neighborhoods.

The building, a three-story multiuse structure developed by KDA Homes, has residences on the top two floors, with professional offices and specialty retail planned for the ground floor.

Out of curiosity, Hamick finally called the building’s owners to discuss her ideas for a coffee shop.

“We met, our visions aligned, and here I am six months later serving this community Noble’s coffee, and delicious local food and beverages,” she said. “With amazing support from KDA Homes, we made it happen.”

Hamik has been an Ashland resident since 1996. Her family owned a local business, so after college she came home to get some work experience and never left. “I raised my kids here and still love it,” she said.

She brings extensive business experience to her new project, having run the family business for 25 years, doing bookkeeping for local businesses as a side gig along the way, and building an espresso-focused food truck in 2019 to take her coffee experience on the road.

Moxie Cafe & Market has both indoor and outdoor seating areas with expansive views of the Siskiyou Mountains.

“The Meadowbrook Park area is peaceful, beautiful and very neighborly,” she said, “so it seemed like the perfect location to create my next adventure.”

What inspired the name Moxie? She says it was the spirited attitude of fearlessness, grit and determination required to get the project off the ground.

“It meant facing difficulty with resolve and tenacity,” she said. “Our Moxie perspective is: If you don’t like the view, change it!”

The cafe’s décor is a little retro, clean and classy, with a bright, light interior — a comfortable place to hang out.

The patio has fire pits and heaters for chilly days, and will have a misting system and shade for warmer weather.

“A sweet surprise has been watching neighbors greeting each other on the patio and connecting more than when they’re just waving to each other from their driveways,” Hamik said. “I love connection and gathering with friends, so I wanted to create an attractive space for others to do the same.”

Moxie promotes local collaborations, serving Noble’s coffee, Sisters Sans Bakery pastries and, from the Ashland Food Co-op, breakfast sandwiches, quiche, soup and sandwiches, with gluten-free and vegan options.

The market side sells upscale snacks and beverages, with beer, seltzers, ciders, hard kombuchas and wine in the cold case. Additional retail items will be added in the near future.

On the cafe side, you’ll find beer and cider on tap, breakfast and lunch items, flatbread options and shareable appetizers.

Her biggest sellers are avocado toast, flatbreads and the baked goods. “The chocolate cake — oh, my!” she raved.

Hamik admits she enjoys the perks of having her own coffee shop.

“I’m a black coffee drinker, so I’ve loved having Noble’s mocha java brewed for me every morning when I get to Moxie,” she said. “I’m so spoiled.”

What qualities does Hamik look for in a barista?

“Hiring incredible humans has been a fun adventure,” she said. “Coffee is an amazing vehicle that provides us the opportunity to love on people who walk through our door. It becomes apparent who subscribes to that philosophy during interviews.”

She sets the tone in the first meeting that she and the baristas work as a team, and that they learn from each other.

“I do ask applicants how their own personal moxie shows up in their lives, and the answers are often insightful and inspiring,” Hamik said.

She has her own favorites from the Moxie menu — the avocado toast, harvest flatbread, and the tortilla trio.

“Our tortilla trio comes with beer cheese, salsa and guac for dipping chips,” she said, “and it’s been fun to share with friends by the fire table.”

The construction crew is still working on the building, so Moxie has been taking care of them with turkey sandwiches and hearty Italian flatbreads.

As word spreads about Moxie, customers are showing up with friends from other parts of town. And she believes people from other neighborhoods nearby will hear about the coffee shop and check it out.

“We’re excited to welcome the athletic community down at North Mountain Park,” she said. “We hope they’ll find Moxie a convenient place to grab snacks, drinks and lunch between games.”

Hamik plans to develop events at Moxie throughout the year for holidays as well as music and game nights.

“We look forward to the warmer weather when we can put out our cornhole, ladder ball and other interactive yard games,” she said.

Moxie is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, but will extend hours to 7 to 7 daily beginning with its grand opening in May.

For more information or to order ahead, call Moxie at 541-499-2179.

Reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.