SPRINGFIELD, NJ — For husband and wife duo Harry and Lori Eckhardt, the decision to start up Halo Roasters, a new coffee shop soon-to-be open on Mountain Avenue was one they made as soon as they saw the open storefront available.
"My wife, before she had the job she retired from, worked in the food business. She always wanted to open a café. We’re big café lovers," Harry said. "We travel [and] go cross-country almost every year, and we stop at cafés at all different states.
"We just love the idea of the cafés, café food, and Springfield doesn’t have one. So we said the time was right, and this is the time to do it, so we did it."
With the impending opening of Halo Roasters, the Eckhardt family, residents of Springfield for over a decade, are bringing their own unique style and flair to the shop and its menu. That personal style fits them down to even the name, which is a mashup of the first two letters of both their names: Harry and Lori.
As Lori explained, the concept of designing a café spot started with something they both love, which is well-made coffee.
"For the coffees, we both love coffee, so that was initially what we started with — coffee, specialty tea, espresso — and then we initially didn’t intend to have a full menu here, we were just going to do baked gods and coffee," she said. "When COVID came, that kind of derailed us, and we were just like, ‘let’s go full steam ahead with the full kitchen.’
"[On] the menu for food, we have traditional breakfast food, but we’re going a little healthier option for everything else, because that’s really not around here. [We’re] hoping to give a bigger variety to Springfield and the community. We’re going to try to do whole 30 specials on a regular basis, along with vegetarian and vegan options on a regular basis […] The inspiration is just to have something we like and another option in Springfield."
While sitting and sipping, patrons inside the business will find a warm, inviting space, with reclaimed wood pieces serving as both decoration and conversation. Among the highlighted salvaged wood is a set of old church pews along the side wall that will serve as seating, and old doors that have been flipped sideways and now serve as part of the main countertop. Along the wall, homemade artwork adorns the space, giving Halo Roasters a cozy, inviting feel.
"We kind of went and did our own [style] because I own my own construction company, and I’ve always done this kind of stuff," Harry said. "Our house [in town] is a very old house. I’ve redone it. I’ve worked with a lot of homes, Victorian homes where I get to work with old wood, old construction, and I love it.
"So we just brought that here. We wanted to bring the warmth of our home and the warmth of those buildings, something with age and history to it, so we wanted to bring it here, and that was the inspiration."
As the Eckhardts noted time and time again in their interview, everything they did to get the store ready circled back to Springfield, which they said has embraced them fully, and that since it has given so much to their family, they wanted to give something back to it.
"It’s home. Springfield’s home," Harry said. "I grew up poor, very poor. Springfield is my first real home. The first place here I feel like no matter what happens, that’s my place. I have that place that is family, even my neighborhood. I’m very family oriented,
"I consider my neighbors family, we’re all friendly. We just love the feeling of community, and we wanted to give back to the community, because I feel my daughters wouldn’t be who they are without this town […] The town is a big part of that. So we wanted to give back, give them a place where we can show the love that we feel for the town."
Lori added, "I hope everybody feels super comfortable, super relaxed. A place that they can come and just get away from all the bustle outside. They can relax, sit down, listen to some cool music. Maybe hear music that they haven’t heard before, maybe having some food that they haven’t tried before […] just a very relaxed and very community-oriented place."
While there is nothing concrete yet, the Eckhardts also hope to add outdoor seating on the side of the building, which they believe will add yet another element to their business.
We are very optimistic, and I think our intentions are to just have a place that is comfortable for people and not over-the-top," Lori said. "Just comfortable and friendly, and a place that people can get to know each other and relax, and just leave everything — all the negative, all their troubles — outside for a minute while they’re having a drink or something to eat."
Halo Roasters is located at 228 Mountain Avenue. Business hours will be announced when the store officially opens. Until then, they can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/HaloRoasters/