/Meri Moon: An old new face in Strand 
The exterior of the Strand building on Main Street. Photo by M.K. Bryant, News editor.

Meri Moon: An old new face in Strand 

By M.K. Bryant, News editor 

Eclipse Coffee and Books opened its doors in 2001, and quickly became a major part of the Montevallo community.  

In June 2017, the owners of Eclipse, Cheryl and Michael Patton and Mary Maxwell, announced their plans to close the restaurant after 16 years. In February 2018, they allowed members of the community to stop by and purchase decorations and merchandise one last time. Their final Facebook post, following their closing in July, was on Feb. 10, 2018.  

However, on March 14, a new post was uploaded onto the account. The post consisted of a picture of a partial solar eclipse with the caption, “Have you missed us?” 

This simple post amassed over 1,000 reactions, nearly 750 comments and over 350 shares.  

On March 20, Cheryl Patton and Rachel Phillips announced their partnership on a new coffee shop called Meri Moon. They explained that their goal is to bring back the community spirit that was offered at Eclipse. 

They also announced their plan to sign a lease at the Strand building on Main Street, which has been empty since the coffee shop Baba Java closed its doors in December.  

“Cheryl came up to me one day and said, ‘You need to open a coffee shop,’” Phillips explained. “She missed running a coffee shop, and I’m around the same age she was when she opened Eclipse. She’s seen me in the community, and she decided that this was something we could do together.” 

Phillips said that the reaction from the community so far has been overwhelmingly positive.  

“I had no idea it was this big. I told Cheryl that I’ve got our menu. Everyone kept commenting their favorite items on the post. I went through every single comment, and I wrote everything down. If they can remember it this many years later, then it’s obviously memorable,” Phillips said. 

Meri Moon will also offer another communal space in Montevallo.  

“I think that every community needs a third space, or multiple third spaces,” Phillips explained. “There are people who will go to different places in town because that’s where they feel comfortable. We feel like, since Eclipse left, that third space has been gone in town, and I really feel like it’s important for the people in town.”  

Phillips expressed her goal for Meri Moon to be a community gathering place where anyone in town can feel welcome. 

“This town is so deep in my heart, and I just want to offer that space for everyone. For the college students, for the moms dropping their kids off at the Baptist church for preschool and want to stop in for a cup of coffee,” Phillips said. “For the students, I want y’all to have a place to come and hang out and feel a little bit at home, because you’re leaving home for the first time. We want y’all to be able to come in and feel comfortable in the space.” 

The team behind Meri Moon plans to keep a celestial aesthetic similar to Eclipse’s, while still paying tribute to the Strand building’s history as a movie theater.  

“I want the same feel as the Eclipse, but it’s going to be different,” Phillips explained. “I hope to bring things that people didn’t even know they expected.”  

Despite being connected to Eclipse through the people collaborating on it, the team aims to make Meri Moon distinct from its predecessor.  

“I want people to talk about this place the way that they talk about Eclipse,” Phillips said.

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M.K. Bryant is a contributing journalist for The Alabamian. She’s majoring in mass communication with a concentration in multimedia journalism, and she’s double-minoring in theatre and creative writing. When she’s not busy watering her plants or writing, M.K. can probably be found wandering around an art museum or a library.