lakota coffee celebrates 25 years

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COLUMBIA - Tahna Long has been coming to Lakota Coffee since it first opened.

"I remember when they opened up,” she said. “We used to live down on Parkway, and we all took a walk and - ‘check out the new place’ - and we came in, and ever since then we’ve been coming here.”

And on Tuesday, Long helped the coffee company celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Skip DuCharme started the business in 1992, while his wife, Deb, homeschooled their kids.

“My mom and dad lived in Texas,” General Manager Andrew DuCharme said. "My dad really loved coffee and he went to a coffee roastery in Austin, and he decided it was something he really wanted to pursue. So he uprooted the family and moved to Columbia, and here we are - 25 years.”

DuCharme said the best part of the job is dealing with the people in the shop.

“I have a really great staff,” he said. “Seeing the costumers come in on a daily basis - we have so many regulars that support us on a daily basis - it’s really nice to see them come in every time.”

Long said she likes how Lakota's environment is so friendly. Her daughter even plays games with the shop's roastmaster.

“I mean I’ve been taking her here since she was a teeny, tiny baby,” Long said. “She just fell asleep, so she feels really comfortable here.”

Long reminisced about her favorite times at Lakota, saying she would play hooky with her dad and hang out at the shop.

“We’d go to the dentist appointment then we’d come here for a little while before going back to school,” she said. "It just always was like a little sanctuary.”

For DuCharme, he said his memories of Lakota date back to when he was only seven years old.

“My big thing was coming down and getting cookies every Saturday with my dad,” he said. “It's an amazing honor to be here 25 years later still serving Columbia, and still growing.”

Until Lakota closes at midnight Tuesday, the shop is selling 25 percent off specialty drinks, $2.50 off pounds of coffee and $1.25 cups of coffee.