‘Just another Hub’ — Downtown coffee house owner will open another location in January 

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A taste of downtown Danville will be perking up the north end of town in January.
The Hub Coffee House and Cafe is remaining at the corner of Main and Third streets but will be opening a second location on Ponder Court, just across from the Boyle County fairgrounds, said owner Jason Cullen.
“It’s just another Hub to serve that part of Danville,” Cullen said.
The space had been occupied by Bluegrass Drug Store before it expanded into a nearby new building.
“That location stuck out to me because it is a nice little area and an underserved area on that side of town. And it’s got a drive-thru,” Cullen said.
And since Bluegrass Drug Store was able to expand at that location, even though some people were skeptical, it gives him hope to have the same opportunity to serve the Danville folks in that underserved area, Cullen said.
The name will remain The Hub Coffee House and Cafe, and have the same menu. The kitchen is a little larger, but the seating area is a tad smaller. “But I’ll try to get every inch out of it,” Cullen said. Plus there is an outside seating area that he’s looking forward to having.
“We’re hoping to just expand on this Hub here into another part of Danville. It will have a very similar color scheme and feel.”
Cullen said he isn’t competing with the new Starbucks opening soon on the other end of the bypass.
“I find that most of that stuff that happens on that side of the bypass doesn’t really effect downtown. And I think over there is far enough,” Cullen said about expanding the well-known downtown business to the north end of town.
When he was buying The Hub in June of 2014, he said the sellers told him, “Danville people are very loyal to their local brands. They love Burke’s (Bakery). They love The Hub. They love Pizza and Pub. A lot of franchises are going in the south side of town. But the core people here and Centre students love  local, which is what we’re really trying to do.”
Bringing a downtown business to Ponder Court is a step to help keep “shop local” a reality. He said there are a lot of doctors’ offices in that area that he caters to, whose staff can’t make it downtown for breaks.
“It’s a little too far for somebody on their lunch break.”
There are also lots of other businesses where people work and shop at, plus a couple of large churches and a movie theater. Also, Boyle County schools are nearby.
“Danville students get to visit me here (downtown), but Boyle students have to come in really early before school …” Now more Boyle students and teachers “who need a little caffeine jolt” will have a place close by to visit.
“There’s a great neighborhood behind the new location and across the street. And the Wellness Center,” he said.
Cullen said he originally looked at opening a pop-up drive-thru for The Hub near Vender’s Village parking lot, but that didn’t work out with planning and zoning. But Cullen continued to look around on that side of town for about two years or so.
Cullen didn’t start his career in the food industry — he worked in financing. Originally from Delaware, Cullen worked for JP Morgan Chase Bank and moved with his wife and family to Lexington.
“In 2014, they let me know my job was being eliminated … And a couple of days later I found this was for sale. It all worked out.”
Cullen said he found Danville about five years ago when he came to town for the first time to enjoy the Great American BBQ festival.
“I fell in love with the town, so when the Hub was for sale, I jumped on it … This is exactly what I was looking for. It’s a nice quiet little town. People will realize when they walk in they’re dealing with a family, locally owned business.”
He said he tries to use all Kentucky Proud products, and even roasts The Hub coffee in Lexington.
“The nice thing is that I live in Danville and I work in Danville, and so pretty much all of my money stays in Danville. It’s nice to kind of have a little bit of a big town feel with little shops, but at the end of the day,” the money stays local and doesn’t go out of state to a franchise office, he said.
When Cullen purchased The Hub, he had already gotten his feet wet in the food industry. He sold gourmet hot dogs in a cart in downtown Lexington as a side business on Friday and Saturday nights — 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. — to catch the bar crowd.
This is a natural step for people who run food trucks to go into the brick and mortar food business, Cullen said. There was a learning curve and it took him about a year and a half to feel comfortable.
“Just in time as I’m comfortable, I’m starting up a new place and feel uncomfortable again,” he said.
Cullen, his wife and seven children moved to Danville in 2015 to run his new business. Their two oldest daughters who attend Boyle County High School work at The Hub, and a younger son works occasionally. Cullen’s wife works at Kentucky School for the Deaf, and since his 4-year-old son is deaf, “It all happened to kind of fall in together.”
Cullen is a hands-on manager and owner, and will be with the new Hub too. “People in Danville love local.”

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