Caffeine & Carbs opens in Geneseo

Claudia Loucks
Kelly Wolf, left, is the opening Caffeine & Carbs, a coffee shop and bakery, at 1225 South Oakwood Ave., in Geneseo. Her mother, Karen Wolf, does the baking for the business.

Caffeine & Carbs at 1225 South Oakwood Ave., Geneseo, is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call the shop at 309-944-3400. 

Kelly Wolf learned to “never say never.” The young woman recently opened Caffeine & Carbs, at 1225 South Oakwood Ave., in Geneseo, and opening her own business was something she thought she would never do.

The coffee shop and bakery happened as a result of Wolf being laid off from her job in Houston, Texas, as a result of the impact Covid-19 had on the convention industry.

“With no end to the pandemic in sight at the time, I had to rethink my career,” she said. “Growing up in Geneseo, I wished we had a Starbucks or somewhere to get a latte. I had experience from my career in food and beverage in Houston, so I decided to sell my house in Houston, move back to Geneseo and open Caffeine & Carbs.”

Wolf said opening the business had been an idea bouncing around in the back of her mind to do someday, “but there was always a reason not to, whether it was that I was living in a different state, or I already had a great job, it just wasn’t the right time…But thanks to Covid, all those reasons and excuses faded away. Now is the right time.”

The concept of what Wolf originally planned has grown and she explained that her original idea was for a “simple coffee shop and to make a few pastries in house,” she said. “When I started testing recipes, I got excited and couldn’t stop trying new things. Soon I added in cupcakes, then cookies, then full custom cakes. Then I remembered how much I love bagel sandwiches from my local shop in Houston. I researched it and soon that was on the menu too. Basically, I thought of all my favorite items and couldn’t pick between them, so they are all available at Caffeine & Carbs.”

When asked how she came up with the name of her shop, Wolf said, “The name actually came quickly and kind of out of nowhere. I was sitting on my couch at home and thought ‘wow, there are going to be a lot of caffeine and carb options, should I add something healthy’? I loved the idea of leaving it just caffeine & carb options and the name stuck.”

The reality of the coffee shop and bakery did not happen as quickly as the name. Wolf explained the construction delays and said, “I have never done any construction work before, even at my house. The process and timing has been a learning experience for me.

Also, Covid has played a part. Materials are more difficult to come by and take more time to get.”

“During the bid process, in the beginning, someone on my contractor’s team got Covid and they all had to quarantine for 10 days,” she said. But we stayed with it and my patience got tested, and now we are at the finish line. I am so happy with how it has all come together. To see in reality the image I first had in my mind has been amazing.”

Wolf’s mother, Karen Wolf, has been the encourager for her daughter to move back to Geneseo so they could open a shop together.

She said her mother’s plan was that her daughter would do the planning and she would do the baking…”My mom used to bake cakes as a hobby,” Wolf said. “She has so many amazing recipes and I want to showcase them all. She is so talented at decorating cakes too, and she has been teaching me how to make show-stopping cakes. Needless to say, she was thrilled when I told her my plan and that part of her wish was coming true.”

“I never would up a business for myself,” Wolf said. “I was very happy with the stability of a full-time ‘regular’ type job where I knew my paycheck was coming. But that just goes to show, never say never.”