Finding her ‘Silver Lining’: How a Beech Grove native is showcasing her family’s history, and great coffee

By Jacob Musselman

Sun shines on the face of Silver Linings Coffeehouse Oct. 26, 2021, on Main Street in Beech Grove. The coffeehouse has been open since mid October. (Photos by Jacob Musselman)

Samantha Stratton has lived in Beech Grove all her life. Her family has been in Beech Grove since 1907. 

Growing up in the area, Stratton remembered a time when Main Street didn’t have the foot traffic it does now. She’s always thought it would be cool to open up a coffee shop in the place where she grew up.

“I always thought it would be cool to open a coffee shop one day,” Stratton said, “Then COVID-19 happened and everybody slowed down and I was like, ‘Why am I waiting for one day if I can do it now.’”

On walks with her dog, she would often pass by the building and saw that it became available for rent, and for her it was the perfect spot. 

“If I was ever going to do it [starting a coffeehouse,] I wanted to do it in the community just because I wanted to bring back that feeling of knowing who you’re talking to every day and a place where people can go where you see regulars and new people that also love coffee,” she said.

After graduating from high school, Stratton continued on to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia.

When she would come back to Beech Grove during her school breaks, she would be used to the plethora of locally-owned coffee shops in Savannah, which until recently, was the opposite on the Southside.

“There’s obviously Starbucks and other big chains but I was so used to having smaller places,” she added.

The Savannah connection is how Stratton found the beans she would be using for Silver Linings. PERC Coffee, a Savannah-based coffee shop and roaster, is the coffee she had down in Savannah and now, at her own coffeehouse. Silver Linings is the only coffeehouse in Indiana to serve PERC.

“The coffee shop I went to served PERC coffee at the time and I really liked it and their different blends,” she said, “I ordered it for myself sometimes just to ship it here to drink.”

Samantha Stratton, owner of Silver Linings Coffeehouse poses for a photo in front of a wall full of family photos.

Being able to offer a different kind of coffee to Beech Grove and Southside residents has allowed Stratton to differentiate her coffee from everybody else. 

Stratton said opening the shop up hasn’t been as much of a challenge other than the basic small business startups. She said the hardest part of starting has been working with the age of the building. Walking into Silver Linings, you are greeted with the look and feel of a vintage building with its tin ceiling and exposed bricks.

The one problem Stratton had when starting was the global supply chain shortage. Ordering plastic cups, lids and straws have been a problem with shipping, worldwide, struggling from the effects of the pandemic.

Walking into Silver Linings is like walking into a Beech Grove archive Stratton jokes.

“I feel like my family’s collection is actually a miniature Beech Grove collection,” she said.

One wall inside is full of photos of various sizes. Looking through all the photos, you get a sense of how long Stratton’s family has been in and involved with the city of Beech Grove. Part of her plan in opening on Main Street is to not only make the coffeehouse about Beech Grove, but also about her family. Even some menu items have family connections. 

One wall in Silver Linings Coffeehouse is full of various photos of Stratton’s family throughout the years.

Dog biscuits are available named after her dog-loving grandfather, Benny Stratton.

Silver Linings Coffeehouse is located at 700 Main Street, in the heart of Beech Grove. The space the coffeehouse sits in currently has been many things since it was built in the 1920s. Walking into the shop now, you will notice the space behind the counter is a bank vault, without the big door and lock of course.

Mayor Dennis Buckley, who likes his coffee black with a little bit of cream, was Silver Linings first customer. Buckley has known Stratton and her family since she was young.

“When she told me she was going to do this, it didn’t surprise me,” Buckley said.

Buckley said there have been a couple attempts at opening up a coffeehouse prior to now and that having Silver Linings on Main Street is another, ‘piece to the puzzle.’

Next time you’re in Beech Grove and you need your caffeine fix and want to support a local business, give Silver Linings Coffeehouse a try.

The sun shines through the windows of Silver Linings Coffeehouse during the morning.