Tree City, Kent’s “quintessential get-things-done coffee shop” (NEW)

Becca Sagaris

As reigning champion for eight consecutive years, Tree City Coffee and Pastry holds its place as Kent’s best coffee shop. 

“Tree City is about making everybody feel welcome,” said Evan Bailey, former co-owner of Tree City. “We believe coffee shops provide an important role in a community. Wherever you come from, everybody’s welcome here.”

After nine years of co-owning Tree City Coffee and Pastry together, Mike Beder and Evan Baily passed the torch of ownership to Rebekah and Brian Gillespie last May.

“It has been a dream of mine,” Rebekah said. “It is something that I have wanted to do for a while — have my own little place where I can have desserts, coffee and wine. A place for people to gather.”

Rebekah and Brian both graduated from Ravenna High School and went into the military. After their service, Rebekah became a nurse, specializing in critical care, and Brian began work with General Electric Healthcare. They live locally and have two daughters, Shelby and Sophia, according to the Tree City Coffee and Pastry Facebook page. 

Those who adore this friendly coffee shop are drawn to it for its welcoming atmosphere, fitting amenities and delicious drinks and pastries. Customers and staff alike have nothing but good things to say about their favorite coffee shop. 

“Tree City is the place to be to get things done downtown,” said Dak Powell, first year political science graduate student and Tree City customer. “They have everything you need. They’ve got food, coffee, internet and outlets. It is the quintessential get-things-done coffee shop.”

Since its opening in 2011, Tree City has prided itself on its dedication to sustainability, using locally sourced materials whenever possible.

“You vote with your money,” Bailey said. “You vote to buy Starbucks or something local. We tried to vote as often as possible for something that’s a little more sustainable.”

Tree City embraces sustainable practices through its use of the direct trade model and locally sourced materials for both the products sold in store and the design of their shop.

“The more we kind of learned about the process of coffee plantation, washing station, exporter, importer, distributor, roaster, coffee shop consumer; we learned how big that chain was,” Bailey said. “You start to understand the economics of the whole supply chain, and how you can do a little better.”

Much of the interior of Tree City is made up of reclaimed wood, including all of its seats and its bar, which is a large piece of cherry wood from an old barn’s center beam. The parts not made up of reclaimed wood are made of concrete poured by the co-owners themselves, Bailey said. 

In addition to practicing sustainable methods, Tree City also prides itself on its connection with its community through business partnerships, customer discounts and involvement with local events downtown.

Although the ownership has changed, the Gillespie’s plan to uphold the Tree City Coffee and Pastry legacy while also adding in a little bit of their own touch, specifically regarding more refreshing alcoholic drinks and tasty desserts.

“Tree City is always going to have the foundation of being a great coffee place, I just want to elevate it a little bit,” Rebekah said. “It’s not just going to be a coffee place. We brought in craft beer, we have a keg. We’re going to be doing sangrias. We have wine slushies now. I’ve also been bringing in different desserts and pastries. My vision is seeing this place turn into a place where people come for dessert and a drink.”

In addition to these new general changes, Tree City has also made the necessary adjustments to their business in relation to COVID-19 regulations.

“We do have limited seating right now, following the social distancing safe practices,” Rebekah said. “I had to pull some tables out and reconfigure our seating. Right now, we only have two tables. We are actually going to try to work with the city of Kent to try to get more tables outside for more seating like all the other businesses are doing. Obviously, we have to wear the masks, the employees and customers, unless there is a medical reason necessitating not doing that. That’s pretty much it, we’re just following the best state practices.”

Tree City’s adjusted COVID-19 hours are as follows: 

Monday – Thursday: 6:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday : 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.