Courtesy of Denny Medley/Random Photography
Benetti's CoffeeOwner Ben Helt levels coffee into the portafilter to make a drink for a Benetti’s customer.
“We didn’t just put lipstick on a pig here,” Ben Helt says of the building he and his wife, Sarah, renovated to house Benetti’s Coffee Experience, which they co-own and opened in 2007. Their friend, Jeff Page, a local realtor and business owner, purchased the rundown building, and together the three undertook a massive renovation.
“We located where we did to help spark the rejuvenation of our downtown area,” Ben says.
Ben, who formerly worked in public relations for a school district, likes what the presence of a coffeehouse means for a community, both spiritually and financially.
“For centuries, coffeehouses and places that serve something for indulgence’s sake have been places where people connect, where you can have those cultural discussions and share ideas,” he says.
Ben buys his coffee and roasts it with a gas drum roaster. “You’re going to find a drum-roasted coffee to be a little more earthy,” he says.
The shop also serves homemade soups and wraps. Ben and Sarah try to bring artwork into the shop as well through juried art shows, which can range from paintings to music to edible gingerbread art. Their ultmate goal is to have art that is accessible, interactive, and relevant, Ben says.
A year and a half into the business, Ben is enjoying the work and what it brings to Raytown.
“I’ve been blessed,” he says.