Darlene Morgan and Chris Hartman founded Milk and Honey Co. during the start of the pandemic. Their doors opened to the public March 16, 2020. When they started the company, they hadn’t planned on selling coffee. “Chris and I planned to serve the community in a certain way,” said Morgan.
Morgan and Hartman’s company mission was to serve the people of Topeka, specifically the part of town that doesn’t have many areas people feel at home and welcome. This includes the Highland Park and Shawnee Heights community.
They wanted to create a space that not only offers that welcoming feel, but provides an affordable way to access their coffee and food. They provide quality food and drink along with an uplifting atmosphere.
During their time planning how to make their mission become a reality, they faced many struggles. Two days after opening their doors, they were forced to close. In their darkest time, they turned to the community they set out to help.
With the support of the community around them, and people showing up to help, they were able to persevere. To show their support back, they came up with the idea to write encouraging messages on the coffee sleeves.
The coffee sleeves have a different positive message written on each one, and have become a staple of their company. It is just one way they show their love for the people.
Abbygene Watkins is a freshman at Washburn majoring in biochemistry. She was asked about her experience at Milk and Honey and her words spoke true about what they have to offer.
“I felt super welcomed, since there were students working and kids my age. I would 12/10 recommend it. They have a couch! Also, it’s so adorable there and so many different options for seating,” Watkins said.
Faith Rose Smith is not only an employee at Milk and Honey Co., but a Washburn student leaning towards a degree in Criminal Justice and Law. Smith has been working there since they opened and has followed the journey of the company throughout.
When she was asked what the atmosphere of the shop felt like, and what it could provide for students she said that it is her favorite place to study because it feels different and the seating areas are so different from other places.
“I feel so chill, I can sit in the lounge to study, and if it’s a serious exam, I can sit at the hard tables. It’s more of a community environment rather than just getting coffee, it’s very at home,” Smith said.
Milk and Honey Co. has set out to keep providing smiles to everyone and to keep caring for the community. Owners Morgan and Hartman come from a caring background, and for years to come, they will keep following that passion of helping people…one cup at a time.
Hartman is inviting everyone to come and spend time in their shop.
“I feel incredibly blessed despite the challenges. Every day here is a blessing. We built this for you. Come to your shop and spend some time with us.”
Edited by Jason M. and Leah Jamison