A gathering place: Cinema-themed coffee shop to open soon in Mount Jackson

Curtain Call owner John Boor, inside his New Market cafe, says he wil be open for business in two weeks. Lewis Millholland/Daily

MOUNT JACKSON – John Boor grew up in a town so small that the barber was also a policeman, a firefighter, and a mailman — and from that upbringing, he built an appreciation for community and face-to-face conversations.

When he saw that Mount Jackson had the community aspect but not a convenient public meeting space, he moved in to buy real estate at 5966 Main St. and soon plans to open a cinema-themed Curtain Call coffee shop.

“We wanted to put in a coffee shop for the town, and for people who walk Main Street to get that old-time feeling,” Boor said. “Come on in, put down the cellphone, put down the iPad — even though we’ve got WiFi, which you have to have — but put them down, and just converse.”

The shop’s décor is inspired by its history as a neighbor to the town’s old theatre, with old poster and sconces lining the walls. Two televisions will be hooked up exclusively to play black-and-white movies, Boor said, adding to the shop’s 1940s ambiance.

“I just want a gathering place. I want a place where people can come in and socialize,” Boor said. “We have nothing around (in Mount Jackson). We have no eateries. I mean, we have no eateries, people come and go … It would make me so happy to sit behind the counter, stand behind the counter, or sit in a chair, and see people just talking.”

Curtain Call will sell lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos and other drinks with beans from locally sourced roasters, as well as brunch and lunch options like pastries and prepared sandwiches. Once Boor secures a liquor license, he’s also interested in selling coffee stouts and wines from area vineyards.

To start, he plans to open the shop 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. every day except Sunday, when his family goes to church.

He said that the path to starting a new business in Mount Jackson isn’t the easiest. In his experience, the infrastructure of the buildings in town is lacking, making it difficult for developers to come in and open new stores.

“It’s just a beautiful town, but everything’s a money pit … because they’ve been let go for so long. Nobody has had the money, or nobody has the intent to fix them up,” he said. “There’s a few gentlemen in town that are purchasing places and fixing them up, but it does take a lot of time and money and effort. You’ve got to have a love, a passion for it.”

Still, that hasn’t stopped Boor from investing heavily in the town. He also bought the town’s old theatre, adjacent to the coffee shop, and hopes to re-open it as a single-screen cinema house within two or three years.

“I love history, my wife loves history, so we bought (the coffee shop) in intent to renovate the theatre next door,” he said. “People don’t realize it: that’s one of the biggest theatres in Shenandoah County.”

The theatre has seating for an audience of 600, Boor said.