Perk Up Lowell, There’s a New Coffee Shop in Town

For nearly a decade, 307 E. Main St. has been a city hot spot for coffee. It started with Voyages, which was followed by the Koffee Klatsch. After that, Ella’s Coffee and Cuisine picked up the mantle of local coffee shop and added farm-to-table food as well.

However, since the abrupt closure of Ella’s late last year, 307 E. Main St. has been sadly decaffeinated. That will change on Wednesday with the opening of Vela Bake Shop.



Vela Bake Shop is owned by Rowster Coffee which operates its flagship coffeehouse on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids as well as other shops in Eastown and on the Grand Valley State University downtown campus. It’s also planning to open a café in the new Kigma Market being constructed in Ada.

For some Lowell residents, it has been a long wait for Rowster Coffee to make its way into town. Vela Bake Shop was initially slated to open this summer, but manager Jerry Grieser says the launch of the Eastown location as well as a maternity leave by a manager pushed back the shop’s grand opening.

Grieser, a resident of Clarksville and a recent Calvin College graduate, says Vela Bake Shop will serve as a production center with baked goods being delivered daily from Lowell to other Rowster Coffee shops. Of course, the sweet treats will also be sold on Main Street.

And as for that name? Vela (pronounced with a short e) is a constellation and means the sails of a ship. Although it may seem like an unconventional choice for a coffee shop, it fits nicely alongside the Rowster Coffee beans which bear the name Milky Way and Ursa Major.


Over the weekend, Vela Bake Shop had a soft opening with limited coffee service, and it will begin its regular business hours on Wednesday, November 2.

“We’ve had such a great reception,” Grieser says. Already, customers are asking for more food selections and expanded hours. “We’re experimenting so we might have longer hours on certain days.” Soups and sandwiches may also be in the future.

But for now, Vela Bake Shop will be open from 7am-2pm seven days a week. In addition to a full line of coffee drinks, customers will be able to choose from a variety of scones, cookies, muffins and other pastries that are baked fresh daily.



  1. Hi. I am probably being a bit sensitive but using the adjective “abrupt ” to describe the closure of Ellas last year sounds a bit harsh and insensitive. Might I suggest using words like sad, serious health issues, or unfortunate as replacement words for your description ? Abrupt sounds rather intentional and insensitive, neither of which describes the pain we went through making that difficult decision. Thank you.

    • Hi Julie,

      Thanks so much for your comment, and I apologize if the wording came across as insensitive. That was certainly not my intent.

      I was a regular customer at Ella’s and loved everything about the shop. When it closed, it seemed to come from out of the blue and happened with very little notice. I choose the word abrupt because that’s how it felt to many customers. Our beloved coffee shop was there one day and gone the next. I had no idea health reasons were behind the closure.

      Again, please accept my apologies. I had no intention of causing any pain to the owners and am sorry if I did.


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