The spent remains of a Russian mortar lay quietly on a glass display at the Weslaco business of Adam Shidler.
It was on a typical day in Iraq during a nine-year tenure in the Air Force that Shidler had a close encounter with the mortar now on display. He recalls stopping to answer what he called “a stupid question” before he would go on to his next task of day. While answering that question, the mortar struck nearby, leveling everything in its path.
If not stopping to answer that “stupid question,” Shidler, who worked in military intelligence, said the vehicle he was using and the mortar shell would have arrived at the same spot at the same time.
“Best stupid question I’ve ever answered,” said Shidler, who was able to later retrieve the mortar after it had been dug out of the road.
He retold the story recently while sipping a cup of coffee made at his Weslaco’s Daily Grind in the city’s downtown. Shidler is happy to be back home and even happier to be running and owning a business he loves and sees as being a building block in nurturing a sense of community in Weslaco.
“I don’t want to be the next Starbucks,” he said. “I want to be Weslaco’s Daily Grind. I want to be a fixture in my community.”
The added emphasis he puts on saying the city’s name matches Shidler’s concept of community with the business of making the best coffee and teas he and his staff can grind out daily. It’s more of a handmade process than a grind. Every cup is made from scratch with pour over coffees individually prepared to the strength desired.
“It’s going to take longer, but it will be worth the wait,” Shidler said.
Befitting his background in the military, Shidler calls himself a traditionalist – and it’s apparent in his menu. The choices are varied from espressos to the cappuccinos and lattes, to go with traditional coffees, but Shidler said he keeps the menu tight to focus on fewer items, and doing them to a standard of excellence.
“We can always tailor a cup of coffee or anything we offer to what the customer wants,” he said. “It’s so easy to fall into the big box syndrome, but speaking just for what we do here, it’s about the attention to detail and individual interaction with the customer.”
Shidler said he had two reasons for starting his downtown Weslaco business on Missouri Avenue in late 2017. “My love of coffee, he said, “and I needed a job.”
Shidler describes his years after ending his military service in 2102 as ones where he had jobs he really didn’t enjoy. Finding a good job after being in the military so long is difficult, he said, because a veteran is often told he or she is overqualified, or needs to go back to school for further education and certifications. He moved quickly after deciding on the coffee shop business. Shidler hasn’t regretted a day of it since.
“There’s just a lot of fun to be had out of it,” he said of the Daily Grind.
Fun and the satisfaction of hosting community events and being a place where people meet are all what Shidler wants to see more of at his business. The Daily Grind hosts everything from Bible study groups to school and business meetings to baby showers. He wants more of those type of events and anything else that can build “a feeling of community” in an age of gadgets and technology that often leads to insular lifestyles.
If you want to meet and hang out with friends and acquaintances, where do you go?” Shidler asked. “In Weslaco, I want it to be the Daily Grind.”