ELGIN — Duncan-based Viridian Coffee recently confirmed the popular southwest Oklahoma coffee purveyor will open a new store in Elgin Square — a retail shopping center under construction just off U.S. 277 near the H.E. Bailey Turnpike in Elgin.
Viridian Owner Shay Hayes said his mission is to build community and culture around a great cup of coffee. Hayes and his wife, Lindsay, said they want to build a local brand they can eventually grow to 20 stores. Viridian already has four locations serving greater southwest Oklahoma. The new Elgin store gets them a quarter of the way to their goal.
Construction on the new store will officially begin in February, once Elgin Square is closer to completion. Hayes said Viridian is shooting for a grand opening sometime in May. Once open, the store will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., 365 days a year.
“There has been interest in us going to Elgin for the past two years,” Hayes said. “We are here to serve the community of Elgin and to provide a space without obligation.”
The Hayes’ moved to Duncan in 2014, pursuing work in the internet technology industry. Shortly after arriving, Shay Hayes said, the couple fell under the impression southwest Oklahoma was a “coffeehouse desert,” with no roasters and no place to get a “top-drawer” cup of coffee.
Hayes said he decided a “third space” — a space he defines as third behind home and work — was needed. This third space would be a space where a person can relax, connect with others and share ideas, and, in Viridian’s case, have great coffee. With this idea in mind, the Hayeses set to work creating that third space.
Viridian opened its first location in Duncan in January 2016. January 2021 marked the company’s fifth-anniversary serving coffee and more in southwest Oklahoma. Today, Viridian operates four locations — two in Lawton, one in Chickasha and the flagship coffeehouse in Duncan.
A recent mid-morning visit to Viridian’s 2nd Street coffeehouse in Lawton revealed a “third space” buzzing with activity. Students were meeting for coffee and going over schoolwork as soldiers from nearby Fort Sill sampled Viridian’s offerings. Norman resident Ted Smith was among the morning’s visitors. Smith said he admired the wall and shelf displays throughout the store’s cozy urban farmhouse-style interior.
“I like the open ceilings, the open ductwork,” Smith said. “And there is good, modern lighting.”
Viridian offers a signature, in-house roast of brewed coffee, along with iced drinks, blended beverages, espresso, tea and food options ranging from pastries to parfaits. Viridian also offers single-origin coffees from around the world — light roasts from Ethiopia and Costa Rica; medium roasts from Kenya, Colombia and Guatemala; and dark roasts from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, all organically grown. For the less adventurous, Viridian also offers decaffeinated roasts.
Hayes said the coffee business has experienced some expected “bumps in the road” during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Viridian has been able to weather the downturn.
Elgin Square is a new, 24,000 square-foot retail development on a five-acre site consisting of two structures — a 21,600 square-foot retail strip shopping center and a separate, 2,400 square-foot space developers expect to house a restaurant.
In addition to Viridian Coffee, developer Dustin Hilliary recently confirmed Cali Burrito Express will also be opening a location in Elgin Square.