The Sunflower looks to offer more than just caffeine

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By Hope Thompson, The Circuit

In early February, Atchison’s newest addition will open up to the general public. The Sunflower, a coffee shop located on 115 N. Fifth St., is the brainchild of Atchison native and Benedictine College alum Katie Wagner.

After graduating with her MBA, Wagner found herself unhappy working a corporate position where she did not see there was high regard for people. Having grown up around a family business that was centered on care and respect for the customer, she says she was ready for a change.

The Sunflower, she hopes, will become a place for everyone to feel welcome.

“I know a lot of times there are certain connotations that people have of townies or the college students,” she said. “I want both demographics to feel comfortable here. I want it to be a place for them to come together.”

Along with coffee drinks and baked goods, the café will also serve alcoholic beverages. Wagner emphasizes her intent to remain local by selling Till Vodka and George Remus liquors from Atchison, as well as Kansas City-based products including Boulevard Beer and The Roasterie Coffee.

“I know it’s easy to take a good product and make it bad,” she said. “That’s why I really want to focus on producing quality coffee. So we’re bringing in baristas from The Roasterie to train us and then, once all of that is established, I’ll focus more on taking suggestions to accommodate to the vegan [diet], gluten allergies, things like that.”

Senior Josh Olson was hired in the fall as the café’s Marketing Intern. One of his main roles is promoting events on Thursday nights, something that he and Wagner both see as an opportunity to reach the college students.

“I really think this has the potential to be the go-to place for everyone,” said Olson. “I don’t think there is anything in town that is comparable to it so far.”

In early spring, The Sunflower will open up an outdoor back patio, which just recently obtained a liquor license as well.

Wagner says her goal is to take her experience living in Atchison and tie that into her Benedictine education to learn how to best serve the community.

“I want to give everyone a sense of pride about their hometown,” Wagner said. “I was tired of hearing how often people would complain about living in Atchison. Look around; there is so much history here. There is a lot to work with and I want to help turn that attitude around.

The Sunflower will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays will be open late and private bookings are available upon request.