It’s not uncommon to find Rachel Warner in the Lewisburg Manic Espresso drive-through.
“I don’t know if it’s just because I’m from Seattle or what, but I love coffee,” she said with a laugh.
It was while enjoying a hot cup of caffeine in his hometown that Warner got the idea of opening a cafe.
“It was just kind of a dream business,” she said.
It took a while – as well as a career overhaul and a move across the country – but that dream came true when “Manic,” as Warner calls him, opened his drive-thru window to his first clients. in August.
While Manic Espresso is Warner’s dream business, it’s not his only business.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do when it came to types of businesses when I was little, but I knew that was what I liked,” the 41-year-old recalls.
However, becoming a business owner didn’t happen right away, as she initially worked for several years as a project manager, in Seattle and Wyoming, overseeing the construction of custom homes.
“But it all fell apart when coal and oil collapsed in Wyoming,” she said. “I found myself unemployed.
It was then that she stepped aside and traveled on what she called a “six month adventure” in Lewisburg.
The move wasn’t meant to be permanent, Warner said, but she quickly found success in an unexpected endeavor.
“I started teaching piano at home and it exploded,” she said.
Popularity and demand for classes prompted Warner to open Warner Music School in downtown Lewisburg in April 2017.
“We have kids who come in from (up to) a few hours to take lessons,” she said, explaining that the instructors offer private and group lessons in piano, guitar, violin, violin, bass drum, ukulele, accordion and vocals. “(We teach) almost anything you can imagine.”
Based on the school’s success, Warner said she felt inspired to establish a 501 (c) 3 designed to help provide music lessons to underprivileged youth.
“The goal is to come alongside local schools and help with their programs,” Warner said of the Greater Greenbrier Music Education and Appreciation Foundation, which was established in 2019.
Although she said the school is busy, in recent years she has taken a step back by allowing her employees to take the lead, while she takes care of the business side.
The extra time, she said, gave her an unexpected new challenge in February 2020, when she opened the Soleil Glamor Bar in Lewisburg.
“It wasn’t something that was ever on my radar,” she said of the tanning business. “But I had mentioned to a friend of mine that I wish we had a nice tan spot. This is what made the wheels turn.
Warner said she briefly considered buying a local tanning business that recently went up for sale, but determined that starting from scratch was the best way forward.
“The equipment was pretty dated and the building wasn’t what I wanted, so I decided to invest a little more and do everything my way,” she said.
In addition to spray tanning services, Soleil offers a red light therapy bed, which Warner says helps relieve chronic pain and other ailments.
“It’s a really cool thing,” she said.
Warner said the business, which was only open for one month when the first Covid-19 restrictions forced it to close for almost two months, has also become successful.
“The community really rallied around us and everything went well,” she said.
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Although Warner had twice fulfilled her dream of becoming a business owner with the school and the tanning salon, she said the end goal was always coffee.
“Coffee was something I wanted to do ever since I moved here,” she said, explaining that she first turned away from it because of the start-up cost.
In the summer of 2021, however, she said she was ready to go.
Manic Espresso, located just inside the free parking lot at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds, served its first orders on fair week.
It was a walk-in service only the first few days due to fair parking. Business was slow at first, but when the fair closed and drive-thru opened, Warner said customers surrendered.
“We were completely blown away by the response and support from the community,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The financial goal that we hoped to reach one day, on the third day, we had already reached it.
The company, Warner said, offers a wide variety of hot and cold espresso drinks, coffee, Frappuccinos, real fruit smoothies, all-natural energy drinks, Italian sodas and hot chocolate.
In addition to drinks, customers can also purchase sandwiches, fries, breakfast croissants, whoopee pies, pepperoni rolls, and other foods prepared by A Taste of Eggcellence in County Monroe.
Warner said she was thrilled with the response and also thrilled to enjoy the coffee she orders in Seattle.
“It’s completely selfish,” she said of the company. “Every morning I don’t even need to get dressed. I’ll just go get my coffee.
Warner attributes much of its business success to the managers who take care of day-to-day operations.
“I mostly work from home now,” she said. “If there is an emergency, I replace him, but I manage my managers more at this stage. I have been very lucky with all of them.
The single mother-of-three said it was this free time that got her started working at opening a Manic Espresso store in Rainelle, with plans for additional locations.
“I have a few cities that I want to go to in the future,” she said, adding that any future businesses she opens would be coffee. “I have plans to grow things. “
She said she was excited and also proud to have achieved the goals she set for herself as a child.
“I have certainly experienced difficult times in the past and I doubted that would come true for sure,” she said. “But I feel so lucky to be my age and to be a single mom with three kids and to have everything organized the way he did.
“I feel like the luckiest person in the world. “
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Manic Espresso is at 898 Maplewood Drive in Fairlea, Soleil Glamor Bar is at 9629 Seneca Trail North in Lewisburg, and Warner Music School is at 174 N. Lafayette St. in Lewisburg.
– Email: [email protected]