Uncle’s Nancy’s : A Small Town Coffeehouse with a Strange Name and Intentional Purpose

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NEWTON, Iowa — Most small towns have a coffee shop. In Newton, it’s no different.

Welcome to Uncle Nancy’s.

“Uncle Nancy is Nancy Watt,” laughs Gina Adams, the current owner of the coffee shop.

Watt was the original owner and founder of the coffeehouse when it first opened in 2001. Its unique name has perked up the ears of many of its customers questioning how a woman named Nancy got the nickname “uncle.” Well, it wasn’t by mistake.

“When Nancy married Bill, there was already an Aunt Nancy. At family functions, it became a little difficult calling for Aunt Nancy because they would both turn around, so that’s when they finally said Nancy would be Uncle Nancy from now on,” laughs Adams, who eventually bought Uncle Nancy’s coffee shop in 2010 after the death of Watt’s husband, Bill.

The unique name stuck and so did the customers. They are the heartbeat of Uncle Nancy’s.

“It’s fun. I absolutely love the sound you can hear now. You look out there and you think, ‘this is what I do this for,'” Adams says.

The name draws you in, but the friends you make here are why you stay. It’s what Uncle Nancy wanted all along for her small town coffee shop.

“There is nowhere for them to go and sit and visit in this fast-paced internet world. It gives them a place to slow down and be with friends,” she said.

Uncle Nancy’s isn’t just known by locals. It is a popular campaign stop, too. Already this year, presidential hopefuls John Hickenlooper and Steve Bullock have campaigned there.


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