Brothers Jeff and Jerry Lenz say they made the move to Washington County to get back to their small-town roots, opening two new businesses in Chipley in the process.
Their first business, a gift shop called The Market on 7th , opened in September 2021 carrying home décor, handmade goods, and apothecary type items. Jerry Lentz says he had the idea to bring in ice cream to fill a void in the community and because it “makes people happy.”
“We had a bunch of customers suggest ice cream because there wasn’t a local place serving hand scooped ice cream,” he said. “And as corny as this sounds, I like to see the smile on people’s faces. Ice cream does that. It makes people happy.”
A short time later, a coffee bar was added to the shop, which led to the opening of the second business, The Ugly Mug Coffee and Café, which opened in May. Jeff Lentz says they wanted to offer a healthier alternative to lunch options and give the coffee shop its own home away from the Market.
“The coffee bar was such a big hit that we wanted to make sure it had its own space,” he said. “The idea of offering healthier lunch options was something we knew we wanted to do. We also don’t serve breakfast - short of muffins so we don’t compete with Sister’s Sweets, Eats, and More.”
The brothers believe that it is essential for small businesses to support each other in order for the community to grow. “We as business owners have to work together and support each other if we want our community to grow and prosper,” they said. “Wouldn’t it be great to see our downtown bustling with people doing business with the locals? All of us working together is how we reach that goal.”
Jerry Lenz believes the more people become involved, the more downtown Chipley can come back to life. “There is no reason we can’t have an active and successful downtown,” he said. “We set roots here and want to make an impact in our community. I believe that the more community involvement there is the more successful it can be.”
The Market on 7th is located at 709 Seventh Street and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
The Ugly Mug Coffee and Café is located at 1306 North Railroad Avenue and is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Lunch service begins at 11 a.m.