This Week's Poll


Sunrise celebrates new expansion

By Tami Stevenson

Madison, Fla., - Described as a nostalgic and cozy escape with a unique decor filled with antiques from around the world, Sunrise Coffee Shop in Madison is now in its fourth year of business.

No longer just a coffee shop, Moruna Sheppard and Peter Conners, owners of Sunrise Coffee Shop, now serve wine. They held a grand opening for their newly renovated, exclusive, private events only area, Saturday, December 15, 2018. They now have a private banquet area, a Wine Cellar Tasting Room and another small room with a fireplace for their special loyalty members to relax. The renovations to the adjacent buildings they recently purchased were extensive. They have become landlords as they now rent some of the offices to other businesses in downtown Madison.

Sunrise Coffee Shop at 247 SW Rutledge Street in Madison
-SVT Archived Photo by Marianne Graves

Customers enjoying the tasting with their wine team during the grand opening event held in the new addition to Sunrise Coffee, the Wine Cellar Tasting Room. -Photo: Submitted

Petter Conners and Moruna Sheppard, owners of Sunrise Coffee Shop in Madiosn -Photo: Submitted

With their taste and flare for antiques that so aptly fills the current dining area, curious patrons of Sunrise were anxious to see the long awaited reveal.

They held a sold-out wine tasting event in the Wine Cellar Tasting Room to celebrate the grand opening, Saturday. According to Sheppard, they featured the Michael Sullberg Family Wines, with their small lots of grapes selected from across California’s premium growing regions, from Sonoma County in the north, to Paso Robles in the south and the San Joaquin River Delta in the east. Patrons also enjoyed gourmet cheeses, fruits, hors d’veours and crudités.

Cutting the ribbon in celebration of the new private banquet rooms. L-R: Great friend and Lifetime Loyalty Member Daniel Piggot, Sunrise Owner Moruna Sheppard, Katie Burns, Charon Aaron, Terri Rykard and Eddie Aaron. -Photo by Sybrina Mosley

The coffee shop boasts the finest of international coffees and teas, homemade breads, muffins, danish, soups, salads, sandwiches and more.

Conners, former special forces, is from Boston, Massachusetts. Although raised in Connecticut and New York, Sheppard’s family is from the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Sheppard is a fashion model and exclusive to a furrier based in Germany. She travels extensively for location shoots and the coffee shop has become a haven for them both, a labor of love. They fell in love with the small town atmosphere of Madison and its friendly residents. Sheppard says for her, it’s a nice balance.

“It’s as interesting as being in New York (here) in Madison, everyday. And I mean that. It’s true, no joke. Some people think I might get bored, but no, it’s not like that at all,” stated Sheppard.

She said she couldn’t manage Sunrise without their loyal employees who she likes to call ‘Team Members’ because to her, they are like family. They each have a special skill set that totally melds with the requirements of the coffee shop. Tyrone Batts also attends college and has been with them for two years. Sheppard says Tyrone is her all around go-to man. Katie Burns is an incredibly talented baker, always focused on doing the best job she can. Kirby Andersen is great at food service and making everything look pretty, and Mark Lindy drives 45 minutes to work and fills in as needed. Sheppard said Lindy will be tending to their customers in the Wine Cellar for some private events as well.

Conners said his favorite thing to do when he returns to the shop and finally sit down, after having his own favorite coffee, is catching up with the locals like Grandpa Bill and Ron Cox from The Barber Shop in Madison.

“That is what I love the most,” stated Conners.

He handles the business end of Sunrise, like moving antiques, checking in with renters of their sister building and handling other in town business.

Sheppard prides herself on the best chocolates and coffees from around the world and said,
“I love the look on Pete’s face when he sees an invoice.” He asks if she really has to get chocolate and chocolate truffles from Belgium or Switzerland and tea from Asia. Sheppard replies with a resounding yes, and states that if her customers go to Paris, stroll the Champs Ellysee, walk into a cafe there, they will still have had the best here already.

Conners said, “Generally, if Moruna and I are traveling, we’ll return with all of these little delicacies that are even difficult to purchase online. But then she’s right, you don’t forget.”

“It’s challenging - always,” Conner continued, “And exhausting sometimes. There is that sacrifice, where ever you place 180 percent into something you believe in, something gets less of your focus and time. But this will be the start of our fourth year in business and many things are a bit easier because we have learned what works best for both of us.”

He said he also tries to catch up with their head contractor, former owner of Richie’s Subs, craftsman, caretaker and trusted friend on both projects and properties, along with Cindy and Geno Poire of Madison Antiques and Interiors and Madison Marketplace.

“Without Geno’s information and tools this would not have been possible at all.”

They also wanted to thank all of their loyal customers and loyalty members and give a special thank you to Paul Cucinellla from Cucinella’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Madison County Building Inspector Tony Sessions for their knowledge and friendship.

To Moruna and Peter, the coffee shop isn’t just about making a profit. They truly love meeting new and interesting people and making new friends. They have enjoyed customers from all around the world with over 70 percent of their clientele being from out of town, out of state and other countries.

If anyone is looking to experience a unique, little coffee shop in North Florida, Sunrise Coffee Shop in Madison is a must.

They will be closed from December 23 through the first week in January so they can spend time with their families. Their normal business hours are Tuesday-Thursday 8-4, Friday 8-6 and Saturday 10-4 with a Mimosa Brunch. Sunrise closes seasonally summers from Memorial Day-Labor Day. They are located at 247 SW Rutledge Street in Madison, Florida. For reservations or to book a private event call 850-973-1381 or visit them on their Facebook page for more information.

Photo-Left: Cookies made especially for the grand opening. Photo-Above: One of the many hors d’oeuvres served Saturday.
-Photos: Submitted

Invaluable help from Daniel Piggot during the grand opening.
-Photo: Submitted

The new banquet room can seat up to 16 people. -Photo: Submitted

Todd Mosley celebrated his birthday at the grand opening, Saturday. -Photo: Submitted