New Ipswich coffee shop rethinks plans to close after community response 

  • The Short Stop cafe in New Ipswich. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Short Stop cafe in New Ipswich. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/15/2020 2:36:56 PM

The Short Stop in New Ipswich will remain open, after an outpouring of community response to rumors the shop was planning to shut its doors.

“There was validity to the initial rumor,” said Melanie Cousino, an employee at the Short Stop. “It was going to happen. The overhead, believe it or not, is insane. But after seeing the response, it was decided to sit back and revisit it and see if we could make it work.”

The shop was established in 2002, but has changed hands several times, and is currently owned by Jay Lehtonen and Heather Mahoney. 

Cousino said the Short Stop will remain a local coffee shop, but there will have to be some adjustments, such as an updated menu and change in hours. But those conversations are only just beginning, she said, and there are no plans set in stone.

The news will be a relief to the town’s residents, who said they were sad to lose a local shop.

“They do need a coffee shop,” said Nicole Letourneau of Jaffrey, who works in New Ipswich. 

Sarah Rosenfelder of New Ipswich, who once worked in the shop, said she liked that it was locally owned, and matched the character of a small downtown.

“I personally think the Dollar General is so ugly. I’d hate to see some chain, even like a Dunkin Donuts go in there. We need some small-town charm,” Rosenfelder said. 

Rosenfelder said Short Stop has the reputation to go with that small-town vibe.

“Regulars, we knew their orders, and we were making them when we saw them pull in,” she said, of her time behind the Short Stop counter.

Losing the shop would have been inconvenient for a lot of the early commuters, who would make the shop their first stop of the day, she said. 

Letourneau said she has seen the shop evolve over time and as it changed hands, and used to be a more frequent visitor. 

“I used to go all the time,” she said. “It was great. It was the place to go. But I think it did start losing a little bit of its special touch.”

Cousino said since people first began to hear rumors that the shop was closing, customers at the Short Stop and the New Ipswich Market, which is also owned by Mahoney, have been inundated by customers asking if it was true. 

“We were getting asked constantly over here,” she said.

She said since the decision was made to simply revamp the business, rather than close it, she’s conducted some informal surveys with customers, and has been pleased with the response.

“We wanted to see if we could make some changes and give it another go, so that’s where we’re at right now,” Cousino said. 


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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