- Amy Mendillo for Providence Monthly
Fox Point Neighbors Delighted and Relieved: The Coffee Exchange is Back!
Fox Point residents have returned in droves to the Wickenden Street coffee shop that offers not just freshly brewed coffee, but a community that feels like family. The Coffee Exchange, which operated from a simple to-go window following the first Covid lockdown in Spring 2020, re-opened for in-person visits in a renovated space this past November.
The shop boasts a reconfigured first floor with improved circulation as well as a new seating area on the second the floor that nearly doubles the shop’s capacity. Yet familiar features remain, such as the wooden grid that has hung from the ceiling for nearly forty years as well as the dark wainscoting that lines the shop’s periphery. “It’s different but it’s the same,” commented owner Charlie Fishbein about the feel of the space. Architecture critic Will Morgan praised the balance of new and old elements, describing the renovation in GoLocal as, “one of the most heartwarming urban design achievements in Providence in ages."
Most of all, neighbors have been delighted to spend time together in a familiar space, some literally crying with relief upon entering the building in November. “Everyone was isolated and suffering,” said Fishbein about Covid-related shutdowns. But now, they’re finding respite in a community mainstay. “This is family,” he continued, “whether it’s the people in front of the counter or behind the counter. This community is extraordinary.”
The Coffee Exchange has been open since 1984 and according to its website, roasts and serves socially responsible, fair-trade organic coffees from around the world.
Image, Amy Mendillo