The Living Room Coffeehouse and Winebar, located on East Main Street, celebrated four years of business August 4.
The Living Room was started by Scott Needham, a Pilot Mountain native, upon returning home from a theatrical career to take care of his mother who had been in a car accident.
After settling back into life in Pilot Mountain, Needham said that he was reminded of the fact that there aren’t coffee shops on every corner of the town and decided to do something about it.
“While I was living in New York and Iowa I got used to having coffee shops and craft beers,” Needham said of the inspiration he had for starting the business.
“I go off of the ‘if there’s a book you want to read’ philosophy,” Needham said of the fact that he wanted a local coffee, wine and beer establishment in town.
Before starting the venture, Needham was no stranger to the food service industry, having worked at his mother’s restaurant, Carson’s Restaurant, while in college.
According to Needham, the original idea was to have the establishment just be a coffeehouse and winebar, buthe said that the introduction of food to the menu was made after hiring Niki Farrington, who is the owner of Niki’s Pickles.
“I’m a roll with the punches kind of guy,” Needham said of what his initial goals for his business were.
As for the name, Needham explained that an aunt of his died around the time that the business was just getting started and his family was selling her furniture so he bought the living room set and moved it into the nook of the coffeehouse and winebar.
“When I thought about what type of atmosphere I wanted, I thought of laid back,” Needham said, adding that people spend the majority of their time at home either in their bed, in the kitchen or in the living room and that his establishment covers two of the three bases.
“We really tried a lot of different names, asking our friends,” Needham said, noting that once the furniture was moved in, the name became obvious.
Needham attended West Carolina University in Cullowhee and went on to receive a master’s degree in theater from the University of Iowa.
Needham said that over the four years that he has been in business there has been some overlap between two of his passions, The Living Room and theater, with one-person shows and performance art.
“I’d like to do more,” Needham said of theater performances at The Living Room.
Needham recently appeared in “Big River” at the Surry Arts Council and is slated to appear in “Chicago” at the Theatre Alliance in Winston-Salem.
Wine has been a constant in Needham’s relationship with his wife, Erin, with their first date having been to a winery.
Needham said that one of the things he wanted to highlight through his business about North Carolina wine is that all wines produced in the state are sweet and that they can be “dryer and more complex.”
“I’d like to expand, but I think this is a local place,” Needham said of his plans for the future. “I really just want to add onto what we already have, maybe just expand our selections.”
The Living Room is located in what used to be a bowling ally and shares space with The Art of Massage and Niki’s Pickles.
Aila Boyd may be reached at 336-415-2210.