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A spirit that is not afraid

Well Red: opening a small business in Auburn, twice

Well Red owners Richard and Crystal Tomasello are in the process of opening their second location of the coffee shop in Auburn. Though they are a ways away from opening, Crystal still had a great deal of details to share about both the new spot and the original location. 

They have planted their idea on Donahue Drive, sharing a turn lane with the Walmart Neighborhood Market. The second location will be a stand-alone building, with a specific focus on more parking than the first. 

“There will still be coffee, books and wine above all else," said Crystal. 

Some processes and design choices will change. There will be a different design on the inside and the outside, including a drive-thru window and a greater emphasis on their catering business.

We want to give our bakers more space than they have now,” said Crystal, claiming their catering business will naturally expand with the increased focus on food. 

As far as an estimated opening date, Crystal says it is still early on in the process. Despite that, they are reaching for opening their new doors at the beginning of next summer. 

With their success at Well Red’s first location, Crystal spoke about what it was like opening the store. 

“Opening a small business in Auburn is the biggest blessing we have ever had,” said Crystal. 

She mused about how the community has embraced their idea with open arms, and claimed the positive feedback they’ve received has been “overwhelming in the best way”. 

“We knew Auburn needed something like our concept, there were no bookstores whatsoever, and now we have two,” said Crystal with excitement, speaking of Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers as well. 

She also cited the timing of Well Red’s opening as part of their success, due to COVID-19 making their customers excited to just exist and relax in the store after being shut in. She claimed she and her husband really had to tell themselves to trust the process of operating a small business through the pandemic. 

Crystal also gives the same advice to others wanting to open businesses in the Auburn area.

 “Trust in your idea," Crystal said. "The community will rally behind it. Auburn understands the importance of small businesses.” 

In addition to this, Crystal voiced her opinion on the new developments downtown. She claims she and her husband are a bit conflicted about how they should feel about the growth. 

“If it is your land, something you own, you have the right to do whatever you want with it,” Crystal said. 

 However, she doesn’t adore the look of the highrises amidst the traditional downtown skyline. 

“It is starting to look monotonous, but if retail spaces are still at the bottom (of the high rises) then small businesses could still benefit,” Crystal said. 

Overall, Crystal and Richard are focused on providing a quality experience for the continuously growing Auburn area, and they are excited to be growing along with the city that accepted their ideas. 

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Carrington Romanick | Community Writer

Carrington Romanick is a junior from Helena, Alabama majoring in law and justice. She joined The Plainsman in August 2023.

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