Notting Hill Bakery and Coffee

Amy Felker is someone who knows how to multi-task. Next year, she will celebrate 30 years as sole owner of a well-established Lewes business – the Notting Hill Bakery and Coffee Shop on 2nd Street in the heart of Lewes. Juggling the staff required for coffee roasting, baking, and sandwich making, requires a special skill set.  

Amy is a native New Yorker who wholesaled women’s clothing before starting the bake shop.  She started her business with little baking experience, so she tapped the local Mennonite community for their expertise. Then she started roasting coffee beans. Typically, she works long hours – often 15 hours per day – keeping the business vibrant.  

Amy says she sleeps most of the day and late afternoon so she can be fresh to start making pastries with an assistant. “The morning women come in between 12 am and 3 am and bake what we have prepared,” she says.    

She opened her shop originally in 1990 under a different name with a business partner. In 2014, she split with her partner so she could make more creative decisions and she changed the shop name to Notting Hill Coffee Roastery. “Years ago, we hired foreign exchange students,” she said, “so I thought it would be fun to have something British in the name.”   

There is another side to Amy that is no less creative. She and singing partner Stuart Vining entertain members of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild (RBWG) at the Guild’s monthly Night of Songs and Stories, held the third Tuesday of each month at Shrimpy’s Restaurant in Lewes. They also do other gigs.  

According to Guild Executive Director Maribeth Fischer, that part of the story was a happy accident that she and Stuart stumbled upon. She was sitting in for one song with ‘Big Hat, No Cattle’, a band with whom Stuart played.  

“I always wanted to get over that stage fright and sing,” said Amy. “I met Stuart at an open Mic Night with Ed Shockley (of The Funsters band). Maribeth was with Stu that night and they invited me to sing at a RBWG event.  They thought I was a jazz singer. Stu said, ‘are you booked?’ “My response was, dude, I own the bakery.” That chance meeting between Stuart and Amy happened in the fall of 2008, a fulfillment of one of Stuart’s dreams of launching a male/female duet team. Their partnership was born. 

Fischer says the RBWG audience appreciates that Stuart and Amy do cover tunes that the audience can sing along with and tap their feet. Very quickly, she realized that the music was a great way to break up the readings and that by having the “musical interludes” she and her group could pay closer attention to the writers. 

“Now, all these years later, I can’t imagine Night of Songs and Stories without our ‘guild musicians,’ as we call them,” she said. “They are so much a part of the community.”  

Stuart compares Guild gatherings to “the old days of coffee houses where I played back in the ’60’s, the audience is silent and the crowd really listens which is very rewarding,” he says. He also plays guitar.  

Stu and Amy practice when they can.  “My hours are nuts,” she admits. “I learn songs best while washing pans or roasting coffee.” 

Anyone can become a member of the Rehoboth Beach Writer’s Guild either to practice skills, learn to write or just to hear Stuart and Amy sing. Get to know them all better: Notting Hill Coffee | Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland.


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