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The Leaky Pot Café now open, offering added perk to Belle Fourche community

April 22, 2019 GMT

BELLE FOURCHE — The Leaky Pot Café, a new coffee shop and café opened earlier this month in Belle Fourche, boasts a welcoming environment and top-shelf coffee.

Mikayla and Geno Pesicka opened the coffee shop, located at 1102 Fifth Ave., April 7. The space, formerly a funeral home, was on the market for some time before the Pesickas leased the property and transformed the downstairs into a coffee shop and café. The pair lives with their three children in the building’s upper level.

Mikayla Pesicka worked at the Green Bean Coffeehouse in Belle Fourche for more than five years prior to branching out on her own. During that time, she fell in love with coffee.

“I felt like I had found my niche,” she said. “I found what I wanted to do.”

Leaving the other shop was the catalyst she needed to strike out on her own.

“I left thinking, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life now — there’s no other coffee shops in town, so why not just start my own,’” she said.

Although the couple had tossed around the idea of starting their own coffee shop before, Mikayla Pesicka said, it was never an idea rooted in reality.

“We kind of dreamed about it,” she said.

The couple formerly lived in a home adjacent to the building, giving them ample opportunity to admire its potential.

“And being right across the street and this place being empty for as long as it was and having the setup that it did, it was absolutely something … I mean the exact situation … that we hypothetically talked about,” she said.

Geno Pesicka had worked at Carl’s Trailer Sales for the last four years and initially planned to continue working there after the coffee shop flow slowed in the afternoons. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. The shop has been steadily busy, requiring him to focus solely on the couple’s new project.

“Plus, this is way more fun, and I’m no longer covered in cow crap all day,” he joked.

Geno Pesicka said they want the cafe to feel welcoming.

“We wanted people to feel like they’re coming home for a cup of coffee,” he said.

“I like the uniqueness; everything so far about it has been unique,” Mikayla Pesicka said. “I’m trying to keep it as different and unique as possible because I feel like we all need that.”

The couple said they work to cater to all types of people instead of focusing on one type of clientele.

“I want everyone … the high schoolers, the older people, the cowboys, the city kids,” Mikayla Pesicka said.

“Our demographics is rural to suburban, 0-80,” Geno Pesicka said. “We want everybody to feel like they can be comfortable coming here, and we’re going to have something for everybody.”

Currently, the café is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day of the week. In the summertime, the Pesickas expect to expand their hours to offer the community a pick-me-up later into the afternoon.

The café’s menu is as unique as the location. In addition to coffee, tea, smoothies, and shakes, The Leaky Pot offers soups, sandwiches, salads, baked goods, and more.

Keeping up with their unique fashion, they offer drink specials including orange mocha frappuccinos and blackberry basil milkshakes.

“We rule the random,” Geno Pesicka said.

Mikayla Pesicka wanted to focus mostly on the coffee side of things but also realized that people want to eat, too. Initially, they weren’t getting many lunch orders. So she improvised, throwing together a caprese salad inspired sandwich for lunch one day. And people loved it, Geno Pesicka said.

As the business got busier, they added more menu items based on what people wanted.

“We love Belle, and we wanted people’s feedback,” he said, so they asked people what they’d like to pair their coffee with.

One day, a customer asked if they served breakfast sandwiches.

“And I was like, ‘Not yet,’” Mikayla Pesicka said. “And the next day we had breakfast sandwiches.”

The next day, someone inquired about biscuits and gravy.

“Not yet,” she responded. The next day they had biscuits and gravy.

The pair let their customer-centric style guide their business decisions.

“The most important part of this is the customers,” she said.

“If you don’t have customers you don’t have a business. And if your customers aren’t happy, you’re not going to have any.”

Building strong relationships with so many in the community has helped, Geno Pesicka said.

“We just post one quick picture (on social media), and everybody else takes it and runs with it, which is fantastic,” he said.

As for the business’s name, Mikayla Pesicka said, it encompasses her secret love of Harry Potter, which includes a business named the Leaky

Cauldron in the fictional story, an online breastfeeding support group, and a children’s book, all that have something to do with something “leaky.”

One day, out of curiosity, she googled just to see if there were any “Leaky Pots” out there, and if so, what type of business or entity it was.

A children’s story popped up among her search results. She read the story, which resonated with her.

The story is about a woman who fetches water with two large pots. Each pot hangs on the ends of a pole, which she carries across her shoulders. Every day, she uses this device to carry water to her home.

One of the pots is intact and the other has a deep crack in it, which leaks. At the end of the walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrives only half full.

The situation occurs daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, Mikayla Pesicka said, the perfect pot is proud of its accomplishments. But the cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

One day, she said, the cracked pot speaks to the woman, saying it is ashamed of itself because the crack in its side causes water to leak out all the way back to the woman’s home.

“The woman replied, ‘Didn’t you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’” Mikayla Pesicka said. “And I thought it was cute and fitting and just perfect.”

The overall message spoke to Geno Pesicka.

“Just because something doesn’t work the way it was intended to doesn’t mean it can’t evolve into something beautiful,” he said, equating it to how his changed course and took a leap of faith.

“And it was a very good analogy to everything that happened anyways,” she said, while Geno Pesicka finished her sentence, “To us, to our relationship, to our family, to this house. It was perfect.”

In addition to a piano, which Mikayla Pesicka plays from time to time, the shop sports a welcoming vibe with a fireplace and shelves full of books and puzzles for children.

“I just always thought it was a good idea … so they can just come empty-handed, get their drink and then see what’s in the cabinet … a puzzle to put together or a board game to play or a book to sit down and read,” she said.

Cultivating relationships with their customers is paramount, she added.

“And that was something I always strive for,” she said.

“When people come in and you can tell that they’re intimidated or that they don’t quite know what they should order, I love to recommend things.”

Nothing makes her day like handing out a suggested cup of coffee that the customer loves.

“I want to cry every time that happens; it makes me so happy,” she said. “I feel like I got very lucky. Not many people get to do what they love to do for a living and still love it.”

As for Geno Pesicka, working the drive-thru is his niche.

“It is so much fun,” he said. “I get three minutes with a different person all day long, and all I have to do is try and make sure they smile and are happy when they leave, and that’s perfect for me.”

Geno Pesicka built the bars and tables in the shop, including the front service counter and menu, which are made from salvaged antique doors.

“It kind of felt like it was fate the way everything happened,” he said of opening the business. “Sometimes the best things that happen are the ones you have the least idea what you’re doing before you get into it. That is this.”

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