Kevin Martin at Bailey Mae's

Kevin Martin, Gilham-Frank VFW Post 8804 commander, poses with a coffee cup behind the counter of the new Bailey Mae’s Trailhead Cafe in Chauncey.

The Bailey Mae’s Trailhead Cafe, a new coffee shop and VFW meeting area in Chauncey, is scheduled to open up for business around mid-March, the VFW commander said.

The Bailey Mae’s Trailhead Cafe, located in the old Amvets building on Converse Street in Chauncey, is already filled with commercial coffee equipment, decorations and seating. The kitchen awaits breakfast customers.

The interior is painted with bright colors and in the back is a VFW podium and seating for meetings.

“I turned it into an artistic, cool, hip, vibrant, for veterans and families — a safe community environment,” Kevin Martin, VFW Post 8804 commander, said.

Martin told The Athens Messenger the shop would be applying for a food license on the first of March. He said they hope to have their first food event, a breakfast, by mid-March.

“So if everything goes well, sometime in March you can come on in here for a breakfast and a cup of coffee,” Martin said.

Martin said the completion has been a long time coming for Chauncey. And with the rising popularity of The Bailey’s Trail system just down the road from the cafe, Martin sees the town becoming a destination in the county.

“I think Chauncey is going to be the new place to be in Athens County,” Martin said. “People have been waiting for years for a nice, safe, healthy place to come to.”

The Gilham-Frank Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8804 has historically been located out of New Marshfield, with over 70 years of history in the town

and 24 years of that from a small building in that town.

However, Martin said the VFW post was evicted from the building because of the rapidly deteriorating quality of the structure.

Martin reached out to the National VFW Command, requesting an emergency authorization for moving the Post’s charter, ultimately moving the flags, memorabilia and other items to a storage unit, The Messenger previously reported

“The VFW had to have a home — we had to have,” Martin said.

Martin purchased the property for $18,000, and has put thousands of hours and dollars into renovating the old Amvets building, Martin said.

Martin made note that Post 8804 is a “sober” VFW. He said in recent years, the VFW directive has been to move away from alcohol and gambling as a way to pass time at a post.

Martin said the Bailey Mae’s Cafe will give VFW members in the area the opportunity to “embed” themselves in the coffee shop and in the community.

He said he envisions the building being more than a coffee shop; he said he hopes to see it used for live entertainment, movies, game nights, and even yoga classes.

Martin recognized the need for a coffee shop and part-time restaurant in Chauncey after the village of Chauncey, with assistance from Rural Action, conducted a survey of what residents believed the town needed.

Martin said the survey results suggested the biggest demand in Chauncey would be for a place to get coffee and a family-friendly restaurant.

“My vision when I bought this went against the grain of our active members,” Martin said. “And I’m telling these veterans, ‘hey, we need to get on this.’”

Amy Renner, mayor of the village of Chauncey, said she is excited for Martin’s new business to take root in town, and said she knows many other investors are considering how they can develop a business in the village.

She said Martin’s new coffee shop will “fill a void” that Chauncey has had.

“I think it’s a symbol for a more positive time to come here and it’s the start of many more businesses that will open in the trail system,” Renner said. “There is no doubt in my mind Chauncey is only going up from here, we’ve only been getting positive outcomes since the trail system was built and opened last year.”

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