Etna's Shiny Bean open for business
Lower Valley coffee lovers have a new place to get their fix.
The Shiny Bean Coffee & Tea House opened at 333 Butler St. in Etna on June 20.
Owner Alaina Hermanowski of Shaler named her shop for several reasons, first among them that she's “a girly girl” who adores sparkles, glitter and shine. Secondly, fresh coffee beans can exude a shine from their oils.
“The other part of it is if you look at my husband and my father, who are two of the most important people in my life — my mother is also a big part of my life, but she doesn't fit this description — they both have shiny beans (bald heads),” she said.
Hermanowski's father, Joseph, influenced her with his entrepreneurial spirit.
For 50 years, he owned Hermanowski Wholesale Inc. in the Strip District, which supplied local mom-and-pop stores with chips and candy prior to transitioning into a convenience store.
Her father taught her that “you can get what you want out of life when you work hard and you put your mind to it,” she said.
The Shiny Bean will carry Millvale-based Tupelo Honey Teas, along with nitro cold brew coffee, Italian sodas and homemade draft root beer. Her son, Austin, a chef at Brugge on North, is preparing a menu of breakfast sandwiches, soups and salads.
The espresso machine will serve two types of regular espresso and one decaffeinated version daily.
“Just like wine, espressos have different flavor profiles and flavor notes,” she said.
The espresso machine sits atop the shop's counter in the first floor of the sprawling three-story, 5,000-square-foot space. Inspired by quiet commuter trains available through Amtrak and other carriers, Hermanowski plans to offer a quiet room for people to work or read, and she is soliciting art from locals to fill the building's expansive wall space.
“Etna is thrilled to welcome The Shiny Bean Coffee & Tea house to Etna,” Borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage said.
“This is such a wonderful space with lots of room for opportunities, and Alaina seems to be full of ideas for utilizing the space creatively, with art displays, meeting rooms and other possibilities.”
Hermanowski didn't let obstacles stop her dream of owning the shop.
She initially planned to purchase a Grant Street building for the space, but the deal fell through a week prior to closing. Then, she attempted to purchase the building along Butler Street only to discover that the property had years of unpaid taxes. Hermanowski said state Rep. Dom Costa and his staff served as her liaisons when trying to consult with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue regarding the issue.
After 18 months of negotiations, she closed on the building in February.
Throughout the ordeal, she and her husband, Kevin Sullivan, viewed the espresso machine in their garage as a reminder of Hermanowski's unrealized goal. They debated selling the appliance.
“I was like, ‘No. It'll happen. If it's meant to be, it'll happen,'” Hermanowski said. “And so, here we are.”
Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.