Not long after a job brought Colorado native Will Ashton to this part of the country, he had a decision to make: Remain in Cincinnati where the new welding-inspector position was, or set up residency in Louisville — a much more hip city, he believes — and follow his dream of opening a gallery and coffee shop.
Six months ago, Ashton opened Gallery K at 1600 Story Ave. in Butchertown, and it has slowly etched out a space in Louisville’s thriving arts community. And just last month, all the paperwork and licenses were obtained to start serving coffee and snacks. Ashton gets the coffee locally from Red Hot Roasters and the pastries from Wiltshire Pantry. He also offers sodas from Copper & Kings in an attempt to keep the business’ focus on local and organic.
Ashton ran a gallery in Pueblo, Colo., a small town south of Denver, and he’s always wanted to open a coffee shop — it’s been a goal since he was in high school, he says. He enjoys learning the coffee trade and has perfected his barista skills throughout the years. He also enlisted the help of a friend from Austin in the coffee business to help him set up the service station and countertop.
Along with coffee-shop staples like lattes and mochas, Ashton plans to experiment with white espresso and loose-leaf teas. The special of the month is a Frosted Flake Latte made with cereal-infused milk and topped with marshmallows.
Ashton says he scoured the city looking for the ideal spot to open his gallery and coffee shop — checking out Portland, NuLu, Germantown, Jeffersonville, among others — and he chose Butchertown because he saw the historic neighborhood’s potential.
“I knew Butchertown had a strong, close-knit community, and I liked that,” he explains. “I found out I could get in on the Final Friday Trolley Hop, that was a big plus. But it was the history of art in this neighborhood and this location that sold me on the space.”
The gallery has hosted a myriad of events so far — from Monday movie nights (showing campy films like “The Ewok Adventure” and “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie”) and open mics to standup comedy. Ashton envisions the space housing all sorts of events and wants it to grow and develop in an organic nature.
“My goal for the gallery is to provide local artists a space to show and explore new themes and mediums,” he says. “And when they are ready, to have the connections for them to take their art out into the world market. (I’d also like to) bring artists in from around the world to Louisville.”
Upcoming events include an open mic night on May 18, the “Mourning Saturday Morning” group show during the F.A.T. Friday Trolley Hop on May 29, and a provocative exhibit by artist Kevin Warth titled “BDSM and the Queer Family,” which opens June 5.
Ashton also owns the spot next door, at 1602 Story Ave., and hopes to offer open office space once it’s ready. He’s also planning on adding breakfast and lunch options of the burrito variety once he completes a small kitchen.
Gallery K & Coffeehouse is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m.-noon. Keep up with its Facebook page for weekly events.