An empty building stood in downtown Opelika off Avenue A. It was November of 2020 and the owner of this building, Allison Kovak, went inside in search of answers.
In that space, she decided to find them through prayer where God reminded her of the biblical story of the Samaritan woman at the well.
“Other women would traditionally go to the well early in the morning or late in the evening because of the heat,” Kovak said. “She would intentionally go in the middle of the day to avoid other women because of how ostracized she was.”
While the Samaritan woman was able to encounter Christ because of this, Kovak said her mind focused on the relationship women have among each other — both in the biblical story and in her own life.
She said she knew God wanted her “to create a space where everyone feels welcome, and it’s not geared towards any ‘type’ of woman. That it’s just a space for women to gather.”
However, Kovak said she knew this wasn’t something she could create alone.
The following day she went to Midtown’s bodegas. While Kovak was there, she met Katie Klein and Rachel Christian who had been discussing opening a coffee shop together. However, the building Klein and Christian were going to set up shop in had sold.
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“I walked into their lives an hour later, [had] never met them and shared this idea and they were like ‘wow I think you were meant to meet us,’” she said.
Later in the journey, they were joined by their fourth partner, Ashley Kickliter, and from there they established The Well — a place for women to feel unity rather than division.
“The heart behind this space is really two things,” Kovak said. “It’s to give a platform for women-owned businesses and to create a space for women to gather.”
The four of them designed the space to create an experience and appeal to a variety of tastes. The first level, with its spread of plant life and pastel coloring, is primarily the tea room.
However, once downstairs there are individualized rooms each created to be something of their own. The rooms have an electronic ordering system, and they also can be reserved for small groups.
One of the rooms is a prayer room where guests are invited to leave their shoes and technology at the door. With its white interior, floor seating and dim lighting, the space allows for connection to be curated.
Another room is the play room which has an antique and pastel design with a rack of vintage clothes hung along the wall. Guest can purchase or rent both the furniture and clothes held in the room.
“You know the best time you wear an outfit is the first time … and what’s more fun than wearing something that’s yours is to wear something that’s a girl friend’s,” she said. “So [the play room] was that idea of ‘what if we could share each other’s closets?’”
The furniture in the rest of The Well is also available to purchase.
The Well has been open since March 20, 2021, and Kovak said she is grateful for the warm reception they have encountered so far within the short time of their opening.
Penelope Josephson, barista at The Well, said she came to The Well's grand opening and that is when she met Kovak.
“I mentioned how much I loved the space and she seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm,” Josephson said. “I briefly met with the other women of the business that were there without thinking too much of it, but we all seemed to hit it off. Then, their social media manager reached out to me very soon after and asked me to come in for an interview.”
Josephson said she has been working there for about a week and has enjoyed getting to know the customers as well as the owners of The Well.
“Between the whimsical decor, the carefully curated products, the sweet customers, the lovely ladies of the business and the intentions behind the business, it's difficult to have many complaints,” she said. “… As time goes on, I feel like I'll learn a lot from the incredible other women that have worked so hard to make this space what it is and what it is becoming.”
As far as the food offered, Kovak said the theme of their menu is “healthy indulgences.” They offer coffee, hand-blended loose tea, collagen waters, collagen blends, smoothies, smoothie bowls, toast, paninis and bone broth soup.
There are adaptogens lattes, which replace the expresso with herbs, and oil-infused lattes, which use essential oils for flavoring. They have a variety of pastries and other lunch items on rotation to provide many options.
In the future, Kovak said they plan to offer events centered on gathering and connection, such as hosting art classes.
However, Kovak said for right now she personally hopes The Well will be a space that uplifts people’s expectations and inspires others to begin dreams of their own.
“We have already had a woman tell us she has a dream about a business she wants to do,” Kovak said. “She came to us this morning and told us sincerely that coming into this space and seeing what we did together in just four months helped her finally make a decision and [she is] just going to go out there and do it.”
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