When a transplanted Canadian from the sunshine of Florida came to settle in DeSoto County, Leanne Nastasi decided what Old Towne Olive Branch needed was a spot to take a break, sip down a tasty hot coffee with a delicious sandwich or similar food item, all while enjoying conversation with friends and acquaintances in a warm, almost homey atmosphere.
That became the reason behind Pink’s Coffee House, which has quickly become a popular landmark along the historic “Main Street” of the DeSoto County city over what is now more than three years in business.
Many residents, when looking for a spot to meet during the course of the day, quickly think of Pink’s as their destination of choice.
Nastasi, a native of the Canadian province of Alberta, came to DeSoto County by way of Montreal, Quebec, where she met her future husband Michael while she was studying theology at the prestigious McGill University.
The couple settled in Florida, where Michael hails from, but they later moved to Olive Branch when he took a job with Interactive Solutions Inc., or ISI, an audio-visual company in Memphis.
Seeing a need for a coffee house similar to places she frequented in Montreal while in college and with an open location near their Olive Branch home, Nastasi started Pink’s in a 112-year-old former lumber yard office on PIgeon Roost Road in the heart of Old Towne.
Nastasi said Old Towne was a locale she needed to invest in and a former computer repair shop became the perfect site for her.
“”I really liked the eclectic nature of Montreal, with its neat little stores, coffee shops and restaurants,” Nastasi said. “This spot became available and I knew the people renting it at the time. I couldn’t figure out a better place around here that I could do it with.”
The name “Pink’s” sends a message but also describes what Nastasi hopes people will feel when they visit.
“My mother had breast cancer and my grandmother passed away from breast cancer,” Nastasi said. “Pink is always associated with breast cancer. But we turned pink into a state of mind, like a healthy, happy, motivated state of mind. Being pink means you’re going forward, you’re getting healthy, you’re getting better. Pink is great.”
The reception of Pink’s in Olive Branch has been above expectations, Nastasi said, a fact borne out by its staying power while others have disappeared.
“Since I’ve been here, there’s about seven-or-eight food and beverage establishments that have come and gone in Old Towne, and that’s sad to me,” Nastasi said. “We’ve been adaptable. This isn’t exactly what I opened up when I started, but we’ve tried to adapt to our customers.”
One way Pink’s adapts to its customer base is in the variety of activities one won’t immediately connect with a coffee house.
“We have kids’ cooking classes once a month. We have Lego Build Night Thursday evenings. We’re starting up a kids’ book club. I open my doors to any groups that want to have meetings, so we’ll have a lot of Bible study groups that come in.” One reason for the different activities for youngsters is the knowledge that there are few of those activities available to families without a large cost involved.
“I know that as a parent of young children, there’s not as many options out there of things to do with your kids that don’t cost an arm and a leg,” Nastasi said. “So, it’s nice to be able to come by here and take advantage of something, or just let them come down here and let them play while you sit down and have coffee.”
Pink’s is not your cookie-cutter place to eat, but they also serve cookies, along with soup, grilled cheese, chicken salad, breakfast, including breakfast pizza, hot cocoa and more. Birthday parties and tea parties are held at Pink’s and visitors will also find decorative gift items and hangings on sale, as well.
Pink’s Coffee House is located at 9120 Pigeon Roost Road in Olive Branch and may be reached at 662-420-7229.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.