A downtown LaPorte landmark, where generations have sipped coffee, savored ice cream and caught up on the latest news, will live on.
New owners have taken over Temple News Agency at 816 Jefferson Ave., which recently reopened next to its namesake Masonic Temple after being closed for a few weeks.
J.D. and Jennifer Flynn acquired the 100-year-old business that started as a newspaper stand but evolved into a beloved coffee shop and ice cream parlor where many regulars congregate. It's the second change in ownership since 2013.
"I've been coming here for years," said J.D. Flynn, who's also a web developer. "It wasn't in great shape and I hated to see it go downhill. It's the 100th anniversary this year, so we jumped at the chance to bring it back."
After buying the business for an undisclosed sum on Aug. 7, the Flynns decided to temporarily close it to get it into better condition, so customers wouldn't get turned off.
"There were some hard times," Flynn said. "The stock was low if not completely out. It was my decision to close temporarily to clean it up, get the stock back and get our ducks in a row."
The new owners decluttered the space, put on a new coat of paint and laid down a new carpet.
"It looks a lot cleaner and more welcoming," he said. "Everybody who comes in here loves the changes. The regulars absolutely love it. They're honest to a fault and would tell me if they didn't like it."
Temple News Agency is known for serving Intelligentsia coffee and 13 flavors of Sherman's ice cream. J.D. Flynn said he'd work to bulk up the number of strong coffee drinks, especially espresso drinks, and ensure the quality is as consistent as possible.
"As a web developer, I came in for the good coffee and the good wifi," he said. "Regulars show up every day. They hang out here before or after work, but everyone in LaPorte has a memory of this place, getting coffee, ice cream or a milkshake here."
He plans to have open mic nights and invite local artists, poets, and authors to perform. He's also looking to increase the food options and deliver lunch to banks, law firms and other offices in the surrounding area.
"It's lasted so long because it's changed with the times," he said. "It started in 1918 as the Chicago News & Magazine Agency. It was a newspaper store that evolved into a tobacco shop and that eventually added a soda fountain and ice cream. We just have to be adaptable. We'll definitely still have our newspapers. But we'll make sure to offer the freshly roasted coffee, the espresso and the ice cream that have been keeping customers around. We have an amazing community around us."
Temple News Agency is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 219-369-6684 or visit templenewsagency.com.
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