If you miss the subtle signage when approaching Axis Christian Church on Route 42, you may miss Kala Coffeehouse, tucked away behind the church’s front entrance. This would be a shame, as Kala offers a friendly, comfortable atmosphere with an exciting menu featuring coffeehouse classics and signature specials.
Founders Roger and Jackie Wilson were looking to stay active after their retirement from careers with the FBI and as a speech pathologist, respectively. Startup coffeehouse owners weren’t necessarily what they had in mind, but they were drawn in during a sermon at Axis Christian Church when Dr. Stephen Sams announced they were looking for someone to run a coffee shop. The idea of being able to serve their community as well as their church excited them instantly. With that, they found their calling.
“This really has ended up being a mission that I think we were destined to be doing,” Jackie says.
The name Kala, which is Greek for "good," was chosen by the ministry of Axis Church. The church built out the back of their warehouse space and redesigned it with an industrial-chic style that feels both urban and rustic. The cafe is wide open and offers tables for work and comfortable seating for lounging or relaxing with a good book. The loft area feels so comfortable and tastefully modern that it’s easy to forget you’re still in a coffee shop and not in your best friend’s living room.
Kala sets itself apart from other coffee shops by making its work with charitable organizations an essential part of its vision. Kala's motto is “A good cup with good company for a good cause." Kala gives 100% of its tips to one of five rotating charitable organizations based out of Warren County. Roger and Jackie prefer to work with organizations that are youth-driven, benefiting one or more children.
“Our base philosophy is: Touch a life. Change a life,” Roger says. “That’s what we hope we’re doing with each of these kids.”
When an organization is chosen, Kala collects donations for them over a five-week period. So far, Kala has worked in support of Shine Like Sable, The Greater Project, Building Blocks for Kids, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and New Life Furniture Bank.
The Kala menu offers coffeehouse favorites and more. Fans of the downtown Cincinnati favorite Coffee Emporium will be pleased to know that it supplies Kala's drip and espresso coffee beans. Other local companies Kala sources its ingredients from include Blue Oven Bakery, TS Farms, Tickled Sweet and Paleo Primal Sweets.
In addition to hot coffee beverages, Kala also offers cold brew, tea, smoothies, frappes and other drinks.
All of the food on Kala’s menu is made fresh. Customers have the choice of selecting from sandwiches, toast, waffles and other treat options.
Roger and Jackie both enthusiastically recommend the Signature Sandwich. Combining sausage from TS Farms with house sauce on a Blue Oven English muffin, the owners discovered this sandwich while attending local farmers markets in search of food to offer at Kala.
Other signature favorites from the menu include the banana with house-made vanilla coffee peanut butter and the seasonal Tuscan toast with avocado, Roma tomatoes and a house-made vinaigrette drizzle.
Roger and Jackie have seen growing success at Kala and are hopeful for its future.
“We take it one day at a time,” Roger says. “People will ask us ‘aren’t you worried about Starbucks? Aren’t you worried about other new coffee shops being built?’ and we really are not,” Roger says. “We’re not going to follow the trends.”
In their experience thus far, they’ve been delighted by how many new friends and connections they’ve made with new members of the community.
“When I have to be gone, I really miss my customers,” Jackie says.
“And they miss her too!” Roger says.
4503 State Route 42, Mason