Dowagiac welcomes UtopiaPublished 8:18pm Thursday, November 8, 2012
By ALY GIBSON
After more than two years, Utopia Coffee Shop and Bakery was officially welcomed to Dowagiac.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the restaurant, 104 E. Division St., several friends and
family of owner Kim Haneberg gathered with city officials to celebrate the grand opening. With help
from her two children, Kurt and Katie, 2010 Miss Dowagiac, Haneberg said she couldn’t stop crying
throughout the morning of the opening. Through a little more than two years of financial setbacks,
members of the Greater Dowagiac Area Chamber of Commerce and Dowagiac City Council helped
Haneberg cut the ribbon and officially welcome her to the downtown business district.
“This is a great addition to Dowagiac,” Mayor Don Lyons said during the ceremony.
Chamber President Tim Dowsett said the opening was “wonderful” and that the food will be a big draw for customers.
“Everybody is looking forward to a nice place to have a good cup of coffee,” Dowsett said. “The food has always been really good.”
Self-described as a person “trapped in the 70s,” Haneberg’s shop boasts a dining room, sitting area and
children’s play room, all decorated with meaningful quotes, song lyrics and throwback band posters.
With mornings starting promptly at 4 a.m., everything served at Utopia is made from scratch, an old
virtue that Haneberg said has been lost in some areas of life.
“It’s a labor of love,” Haneberg said. “I wanted to bring that old-style bakery back ,and the shop reflects
me and I wanted to stay true to myself.”
One of the biggest items that Haneberg can’t seem to keep around long enough are homemade
“I keep all my prices reasonable because I know what it’s like to be broke,” Haneberg said.
That knowledge also lends a hand to future shop projects Haneberg aims to incorporate, such as live
acoustic shows and a youth outreach evening each week.
“On Saturdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m., kids can come here to the shop, get a free dessert and drink and
make new friends,” Haneberg said.
The night, which is aimed at giving teens a place to feel comfortable and stay out of trouble, will also be
coupled with volunteer opportunities that Haneberg aims to organize.
“They won’t just be here, they’ll be out in the community working on projects together,” Haneberg
said. “They’re going to commit.”
Haneberg said the community support she received has been the best part of the opening.
“I’ve never seen people like I’ve seen in Dowagiac,” Haneberg said. “I cannot believe the support and to
have it is nice.”