Tip Top Coffee in Thomas, WV

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I was in Thomas a few weeks ago and I was excited to finally get the chance to visit the Tip Top coffee shop! This new coffee shop is located in the Schilansky-Rubenstein Building right on Front Street next to the Miners and Merchants bank parking lot. I’ll tell you all about my visit, but first a little background….

The building itself has a fascinating history. It was constructed around 1905 by the Schilansky and Rubenstein families, two of the first Jewish families to settle in Thomas. Barney Schilansky immigrated to the United States from Russia with his wife Sarah and traveled throughout the East Coast as a peddler before deciding to make Thomas his home in 1886. Victor Rubenstein had immigrated from Lithuania and married Sarah Schilansky’s sister Annie. The Rubensteins joined the Schilanskys in Thomas around 1894. The families operated businesses in the storefronts on the first floor and lived above in the large multi-story apartments. There was a small but strong Jewish community in Thomas in the early 20th century and the Schilansky home served as its central gathering place. A copy of the Torah was kept in the house and a special room was prepared for celebration of the High Holy Days. Outlines of the families’ mezuzah holders can still be seen on the doorframes in the apartment today. (Special thanks to building owner David Downs, who took me all through the building and shared his restoration plans. For all he knew I could’ve been a random crazy lady, but he took my word that I was a serious historian with an actual purpose!)

A great first impression... love the retro design!

 

Barney’s daughter Celia married Victor’s son Ruby in 1931. The family was and continues to be well-known and respected throughout Thomas and surrounding towns. They were a very¬†entrepreneurial group and ran various businesses including a dress shop, grocery store, general store and butcher shop.¬†Ruby was mayor of Thomas for many years and locals still remember his meat market on the ground floor of the Schilansky building… in the very same space that Tip Top opened earlier this year! The business may be different, but that same entrepreneurial spirit is driving a new generation to success and investment in the local community.

I stopped in for a lunch on a lovely May day and met the owner of Tip Top, Cade Archuleta. He and his staff fixed me up a delicious latte, complete with a heart design, and a delicious mini-quiche. They have done a wonderful job of honoring the history of the building while updating it to today’s modern standards. My favorite part is that they saved the original meat cooler from Ruby’s butcher shop and it is now the prep/bar area! Continue on for a few photos of my visit. A huge thanks and congratulations to Cabe and everyone at TipTop for a very promising start! And everyone get on over to Thomas for a coffee ASAP! (And by the way, I received no ad $$ or bribery… I’m just enthused!)

A lovely snack.

The original meat cooler, repurposed.

The interior of TipTop, formerly Ruby's butcher shop

Cade, runs a great business and makes a mean cappuccino

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About

Courtney is the owner and principal of Aurora Research Associates, LLC, an historic preservation consulting firm.

2 Comments

  1. My great grandfather was brought from a NYC immigrant shelter to Thomas by Chanke Schilansky to be the first kosher slaughterer in Thomas on April 7, 1892. He left after 18 months of what he describes as “slavery”. We have his journal that describes his life in Thomas and Parsons, W.V. and I would love to meet up with anyone involved with the history of Thomas to share it with them.

  2. Hi Jonathan! Thanks for your comment… it’s so exciting to meet people with the Thomas connection. I know the Tucker County Historical Society would love to see the journal and even write a blog post about it for their website about Thomas. If you want to send me a private mail, you can find my contact info on my website. I look forward to talking more with you!

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