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Downtown Businesses, Photo Essay

Not Just Cut & Dried: My Kind Of Store

I am not going to lie when I say that it was “Not Just Cut & Dried” on Elm Street that enhanced my love for Washington even more. The first time I entered the store, I was enchanted by the wonderful coffee aroma and the charming personality of the owner, Carolyn McGettigan. Her and I chatted for almost an hour, and for a while I felt like I was back home buying freshly roasted and ground coffee from a small corner shop, on my way to our tiny European flat.

I feel like changing it up a bit, so my blog post today will illustrate my European love affair with coffee and how I have managed to keep it alive here in the Midwest thanks to Not Just Cut & Dried. Photos and captions always go together best 🙂

Coffee, Kaffee, Kopi, Café, Koffie, Kafes, Kave, Koohi, Кафе, Kape, Kafe – the word for the refreshing beverage seems to be international. However, the meaning we put into it varies a lot (I learned the cinnamon stick trick from Carolyn).

Early morning in Yambol, Bulgaria: A street cafe in front of the theatre, awaiting its customers. Bulgarians love their espresso – double, to wake you up in the morning; normal, to pick you up after lunch, long (with more water) to keep you energized in the afternoon. Going out for coffee is a ritual, and it doesn’t include just the simple act of purchasing a steaming cup of goodness. In summer the street cafes are bustling with life, where friends meet to catch up, relax, gather up some sun rays, show off their new outfits, and people watch.

From teenagers to sweet little grannies, we all love to go for coffee and meet up with friends. My grandma is 83 and still goes out every Thursday with her girlfriends for a short walk and a coffee (decaf, since she the caffeine gives her the jitters 😉 For us, Bulgarians, going for coffee is a social experience, a way to unwind after a busy day at work, a reason to go out, a simple pleasure, a daily routine, a custom, a part of life.

Imagine then, what was my disappointment to come to the Midwest and discover that people’s idea for coffee is flavoured brown water (no offense, please, I am just being honest, and you don’t have to agree with me), and that Starbucks is the only popular place where you could get something else. For our morning needs, we have a cute little espresso maker, but finding espresso coffee for it was not an easy task. Luckily, I stumbled upon “Not Just Cut & Dried” only a few blocks from our house, where the coffee is fresh, delicious and ground the way I like it.

Located on 301 Elm Street, “Not Just Cut & Dried” is a family owned store, that has a wide selection of coffee and tea, and beautiful displays of other goodies and home decor. The owner, Carolyn McGettigan, roasts the coffee beans herself and blends them in unique ways. She believes that good coffee needs to be flavorful and strong, and we are in love with her Italian Espresso Roast.

The store also specializes in custom floral arrangements, decorating ideas, gift baskets, spices and a whole lot more.

You need to visit often, because the decor changes with every holiday and season. When I go to get my coffee every week, I am there for at least half and hour, browsing through the new selection, which is always beautifully displayed.

Easter and Spring! This display makes me happy!

If you are looking for a great practical gift that travels well, these beautiful cutting boards are what you need! I took a bunch home to Bulgaria with me last year, and I have one I use all the time. The pictures do not fade or wear off, and they are flexible, so all your veggies go straight in the bowl/pot and not on the kitchen counter.

Many more gift ideas…

Mother’s Day and 4th of July are coming up…

Don’t forget the mustard…

One can always use a garden hat, especially with the way the weather has been lately…

Not Just Cut & Dried also has a wide selection of tea. My current favorite one is Coconut Mango.

Carolyn roasts all of the coffee in the store, and she flavors and blends their whole leaf teas. This enables her to keep the quality standards to high levels. The brand she produces is called “Flat Kitty Coffee”, and the origin of the name is a highly guarded secret (even I don’t know it!).

You can always sample some of the coffee blends while shopping.

A gift basket in the making. You can buy a ready-made one, or you can pick all the products you want to go in it and they will wrap and design in for you.

The finished product. It took Carolyn less than 5 minutes to wrap this beautiful basket up, which will make somebody very happy.

Did I mention she has spices, too?

All floral and wreath arrangements are designed by Carolyn, and they can be custom made. I always admire her wreaths!

Carolyn says that she would never leave the downtown, because the store “feels right” in the historic town setting. “The drive-by, walk-by store fronts are what makes this town. You can’t get that feeling in a mall or shopping center atmosphere. It’s the individuality we have and the closeness to our customers.” I couldn’t agree more with her words.

I am so happy and proud to have some of my cards and tote bags displayed at Not Just Cut & Dried!

Spring is here and summer is on its way. Sooner than you think, fall will knock on your door, and the decor at Not Just Cut and Dried will change with seasonal items and ideas. 

Visit Not Just Cut & Dried anytime and sample some delicious coffee!

Not Just Cut & Dried is located on 301 Elm Street. The store is open Monday through Friday from 10 am. until 5:30 pm., Saturday from 10 am. until 5 pm. (Sundays closed at present time). You can reach Carolyn McGettigan at 636.239.9084.

About Slava

I am a twenty-something Bulgarian girl in the USA, re-discovering the world through the lens.


9 Responses to “Not Just Cut & Dried: My Kind Of Store”

  1. My favorite downtown store! I’ve taken my husband there and pointed out all of the things he could buy for gift giving occasions.

    Posted by vivobello | April 5, 2012, 5:33 pm
  2. Not Just Cut & Dried is the perfect place to visit to find a wonderful, unique gift. I like to take friends or visitors in for a great cup of coffee and I always buy 6 or 8 flavored coffees when going to visit my dad. They have such a variety….a really fun shop to visit!

    Posted by Shari Kopmann | April 5, 2012, 7:11 pm
  3. I’m not a coffee drinker, but Not Just Cut & Dried is one of my favorite shops downtown…they always have unique things and put together the cutest “baskets” –one favorite was a little cookbook/wooden spoon/kitchen smalls all tucked into a Christmas oven mitt. Just adorable! Your photos of their spring offerings reminded me I need to get in there SOON! 🙂

    Posted by Wendy Becker | April 6, 2012, 7:40 am
  4. wonderful photos!

    Posted by scott2608 | December 28, 2012, 8:53 pm
  5. My husband and I can’t get thru Washington without stopping here (and Aldo’s). I agree about the cutting boards. We hope to get there this fall for the Apple Butter!

    Posted by Connie & Henry | September 4, 2015, 1:02 pm

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