Located in downtown Opelika, The Well is a coffee shop and tea room that invites a place for women in the community to connect, sell local products and share their stories in an intentional and hospitable setting.
Its multigenerational environment and communal vision continues to draw Auburn female students to its doors as it offers an opportunity for college students to interact with other women in the community.
Lillian Howe, sophomore in English, has worked at The Well since August. She shared how important the aspect of community is at The Well and what it looks like between customers.
“I see it everywhere, all the time here," Howe said. "Multigenerational community is huge because little girls like toddlers come in with their mom, and then the mom’s mom. So it's like three generations right there.”
Howe also shared how working at The Well has inspired her to seek community outside of The Well's walls.
“It has encouraged me to invest in my relationships with other people and other women,” Howe said. “When a woman knows her worth and her value, you can see that in the way she treats other women and helps them find that too.”
The inspiration and story behind The Well is a personal testimony of Allison Kovak, owner and founder of The Well. She said she was praying in the empty building in fall of 2020, asking God for guidance on what to do with the space.
"He put the story of the Samaritan woman on my mind, which I thought was an interesting image because I was praying about business," Kovak said. "The reason He showed me the story of the Samaritan woman particularly is because she encountered Jesus because she was avoiding being around other women. She was at the well in the middle of the day, and in Israel, the last thing you want to do is draw water in the middle of the day because it is so hot."
Kovak described how this experience led to the creation of The Well.
"That really struck me because it showed me how women in our wounds can be cruel to each other," Kovak said. "I felt Him put this impression on my heart, and I want this space to redeem that."
The meaning behind The Well has continued to attract students from the University, including Julia Weingarten, freshman in architecture, as she described how her experience at The Well encouraged her during her time off-campus.
“I walked in and there were two women sitting down, just talking, and I could tell it was a safe place,” Weingarten said. “There were people there that I hadn't noticed at Auburn. It’s so cool because on-campus everyone is kind of the same age, and so coming to a place like The Well, it was evident that all ages were welcome and it wasn’t subjective towards a certain group.”
Caroline Rice, senior in journalism, shares a similar experience at The Well. She described how her favorite memory at The Well was with her small group from Lakeview Baptist Church when one of the employees brought them tea and talked with them.
“She took an hour out of her work shift to just sit down and talk with us about her personal mission for life and why The Well’s mission is the same,” Rice said, “Like wanting to be intentional with people and wanting to invest in people and creating a space where women can do that effectively. “
Rice also shared how the mission of The Well has personally encouraged her as well as its impact in the community.
“It places an emphasis on relatability and being personable with people,” Rice said. “Every time I go, I am reminded that no matter what we do in our lives, if we have a purpose, it is so impactful if we truly live that out and have everything about our lives and our day-to-day habits centered around one heartbeat. The Well does that really well.”
For these students and the women who gather at The Well, the store is more than just a coffee shop: it's a space to gather and cultivate relationships.
“This space has shown me that there are so many beautiful people in this community and a lot of kinship here in unexpected places,” Kovak said. “We have seen a tapestry of different women coming in here. There are threads of commonality in every one of them.“
Rice also recognizes The Well's emphasis on relationships from the perspective of a customer.
“It's encouraging to see a business have such a meaningful reason for existing that goes deeper than just tea or just coffee,” Rice said. “It is a community, but it is also a place for growth in people's souls.”
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