North Williamson Avenue is home to many local Elon businesses, including The Oak House. The winner of “Best Coffee” has been a part of Elon’s community since Sept. 2014, providing the community with a reliable study space, exquisite coffee and a place to unwind with friends. A coffee shop by day and a bar with live music by night, The Oak House is a special place to many Elon students and community members.
Freshman Sharon Rowland, whose favorite drink is iced black coffee with no cream or sugar, appreciates the coffee for its unique flavor. Rowland said she spends plenty of time at the coffee shop studying and hanging out with friends and faculty.
“I like the atmosphere because it’s relaxed, and I get a lot of work done there,” Rowland said. “Oak House is one of the best spots on campus to chill.”
When owner Phil Smith opened up The Oak House with business partner and alumnus Ryan Vet ‘13, he said he was excited about the business but anxious at the same time.
“I was confident that it was going to work, and I was very nervous that it might not,” Smith said. “I knew the concept, I believed in the concept, but it was not tested here or really not tested much of anywhere.”
After their Durham location opened last June, Smith had an incredible interaction with Elon University alumni that excited him.
“The coolest thing, when I was at the Durham spot a couple weeks ago, and I look out the window and there are these two 20-somethings taking pictures of the Oak House sign on the front, and I peek out and they’re alums,” Smith said. “They had just graduated last year. They were in Durham over the holidays, and it was a big deal to them to come to their place but in a different town.”
Smith said he is passionate about making sure his customers have a positive experience during their time in college, and he loves how his brand brings others together.