In the course of acquiring, restoring, and even moving historic homes onto properties in historic downtown Springfield, the Conns found themselves with a beautiful, but empty home that once belonged to prominent Springfield resident Isaac Lindsey. Abraham Lincoln himself reportedly lent Lindsey $650 to build the structure. The home sits on property located on the corner of Jackson and 7th Streets originally owned by Obed Lewis, Court Conn’s great-great grandfather. While the Conn’s initial idea was to open their microbrewery in this location, it soon became obvious the main structure was too small.
The idea of a coffee house and café came to the Conns. As you would expect, however, a coffee house operated by this family would not be ordinary… it would be unique to Springfield. Wm. Van’s Coffee offers specially roasted coffee and specialty coffee drinks, fresh baked pastries, and grab-and-go meals. What’s special is where they get ingredients.
The family believes in not only knowing where food comes from, but in knowing how it was grown, how it was harvested, and what post harvest handling procedures were employed. Being confident in always providing fresh, natural, local produce led the Conns to convert their family farm in Virginia, Illinois into a fruit and vegetable production garden to serve not only Wm. Van’s Coffee but also Obed & Isaac’s and the Inn at 835.
The Conns were chosen in 2012 to participate in a three-year educational project funded by the USDA aimed at increasing the number of new farmers producing fruits and vegetables. The family has worked together to form a management plan that includes use of natural pesticides, and safe harvest and handling practices to ensure the highest quality products. They are very excited to not only provide locally grown ingredients for use in their restaurant kitchens, but to be able to say they were grown locally by their own family.
Click here to check out Wm. Van’s Coffee House