PHOTO BY ROBERT NOLES / THE OBSERVER – Well Red, popular Auburn coffee shop, is opening a second location in the city.


Well Red is expanding.
The popular local coffee shop will be opening a second location, hopefully within a year’s time.
Crystal Tomasello, co-owner of Well Red with her husband Richard Tomasello, said that the idea for a second store has been pinging around her head since the first shop opened.
“When Well Red opened, I looked at Richard pretty much at the beginning and said, ‘I think we should do multiple stores. I think this is going to be big,’” Crystal said. “And he was a little more hesitant just because he’s the business guy. And so, usually one of us is dreaming and the other one is like, ‘let’s come down to earth for a moment.’”
Well Red is a combination coffee shop/bookstore that also sells wine. By year two of Well Red being open, the couple was in agreement that perhaps a second store was a good idea.
“We’ve really been talking about opening a second location for a couple of years now, but it just takes a lot of planning, just like when we opened the first store,” Crystal said.
About a year ago, Richard and Crystal began looking for property to have the second store. The shop will be located on the corner of Shug Jordan Parkway and N Donahue Drive, near the neighborhood Walmart and the Church of the Highlands Dream Center.
Crystal said the goal for opening is summer 2024.
“We don’t have a hard and set time in our mind, we know we’re going to have to roll with the punches,” she said.
While the name will still be Well Red, it could have a twist to it, Crystal said.
The original name was suggested by an employee of The Depot, Erica Britton, Crystal said. Well Read because of the bookstore component. Richard then countered with Well Red, because of the wine component.
While Well Red has a lot on its plate — the books, the coffee, the wine, the pastries — it also handles catering.
“For this [store], we really want to concentrate on catering,” Crystal said. “So, we’re a vendor with the university. We do catering orders, but not a lot of people know that. And so with this place, we want it to be the hub of where we do our food and really focus on catering. But also, it’s still going to be coffee, books and wine, but it’ll have a little bit of a different feel. Same homey vibe, it’ll just feel a little different. And then we’re also going to have a drive-through. So, I mean, it’s going to be busy from the get-go.”
One way that Richard and Crystal will manage their time will be to rely on the internal staff they’ve already built up, Crystal said.
“We have a really good core group and so we will lean on them and Richard will have to delegate a lot of what he does day to day to our managers,” she said. “…We’re going to have to do that but also we’re going to have to hire a bunch of people.”
While the new store will take a lot of time, Crystal said they will still balance at both.
“We certainly don’t want our staff or our patrons to feel like we’ve abandoned them and so we’ll have to manage both of them and it’ll be really busy, but this isn’t our first rodeo,” she said. “… Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart.”
Time management will be one of the biggest challenges, Crystal said.
“We are so passionate about Well Red and everybody’s embraced it so much that I feel like with the support of the community, they’re just going to make it so worth it,” she said.
Who knows what’s next for Crystal, Richard and Well Red?
“We talk about what it would look like to have multiple stores; we talk about what that would look like for us; we talk about, it would be so cool to do the catering to where we have a catering truck and someone who’s strictly hired just to do catering; we talk about franchising and how fun that would be; everything,” she said.
So, stay tuned for the second Well Red location and a limitless horizon for this Auburn business couple.