Sundial Coffee and Tea is a community hub in Holly Ridge.
Sundial Coffee and Tea has been open for less than a year, but already it has become a home away from home for many Topsail area residents and visitors. On any day the cozy couch and brightly colored tables are filled with old friends catching up, young moms chatting with friends, and entrepreneurs and students multi-tasking on laptops. It’s a hub of activity as everyone enjoys coffee, tea or delicious locally baked pastries.
In a one-story, brick building in Holly Ridge, Sundial has emerged as a community center too, hosting events for local nonprofits, musicians, artists and businesses.
“While I love the warmth and energy coffee gives me first thing in the morning, my favorite coffee is the one I share with a friend,” says Bridget Leiviska, who co-owns the shop with her husband, Victor, who is mission pastor at Scotts Hill Baptist Church and has led trips to Guyana, Ecuador and Haiti as well as parts of the United States. “My hope for Sundial is that coffee will provide the means for relationships to grow.”
When they decided to open the shop, Leiviska says they specifically wanted a coffee shop that focused on building relationships. “A place where people could sit and have coffee with friends without feeling rushed,” she says.
A large black-and-white chalkboard listing the shop’s drinks is a focal point, and multi-hued artwork for sale by local artists lines a wall. T-shirts and cookbooks stored in wooden crates line another wall.
One reason for Sundial’s popularity is the friendly atmosphere. Except for your first visit, no one is a stranger. “Hi. Welcome to Sundial. Have you been in before?” Leiviska asks if she doesn’t know your name. She’s the engine behind Sundial. It reflects her tastes, atmosphere and warmth.
If you are a regular, she may even know your preference: coffee, tea, smoothies, chai, matcha or something else. Many regulars store their personal ceramic mugs on a wall just inside the doors and grab them on the way in for a touch of home. Fond memories of a coffee shop in Virginia led to this whimsical touch. “It made me feel like I had ownership in the place,” Leiviska remembers. “My mug was there. One of the first things I told Vic was that we were going to do that here.”
A job transfer brought the Leiviskas to North Carolina from their native Indiana. Leiviska was a stay-at-home mom while her now-teenaged children were younger. Their son, Sam, recently joined the Marines, and daughter, Abigail, is a student at Cape Fear Community College. Leiviska started working as a barista at the coffee shop when it was under prior ownership. They closed for the month of February to remodel.
“We have many people come in for coffee, but probably the biggest group is military moms,” Leiviska says. “They like to meet friends here.” Retirees, teens, tourists, first responders: all are welcome.
One might say that the coffees and teas at Sundial are divinely inspired.
“Our coffee is grown through Kingdom Growers,” Leiviska says. “It is grown by people taught to grow coffee by missionaries so that they will have a source of income.” The organization works with impoverished and isolated communities in 70 countries to help raise standards of living and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The building that houses Sundial also houses Hope Counseling and Coaching, a Christian-based service, and Topsail Tutors, which tutors students in kindergarten through college.
Several community organizations meet at Sundial. Coastline, a popular young adult ministry of Surf City Baptist Church (The Gathering), meets there on Thursdays. Home crafters, including knitters and scrapbookers, meet there too. Story time happens once or twice a month, with Leiviska reading to preschoolers. The shop is available to rent for private events after hours, including baby showers and group meetings. They also host events for local businesses to market goods. Once a month, vendors meet to sell their products, and 10 percent of the profit goes to Vigilant Hope Urban Missionaries, a Wilmington ministry for the homeless.
Judging by a recent visit as friends shared coffee and exchanged small talk, it was obvious that Sundial has reached its goal of being a place where relationships blossom and customers feel at home.
Sundial Coffee and Tea
1061 E. Ocean Highway, Holly Ridge
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, Saturday 8 am to noon. Summer season hours may vary.