Small town drink shop brings owner Julia Kirby full-circle with community memories

Published 1:12 am Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Crenshaw County native Julia Kirby opened The Busy Beans in Highland Home back in June. Since then, the small-town drink shop has served hot and cold energy teas and coffees along with milkshakes — something for all ages and tastes — ever since.

‘Highland is pretty much my hometown,” Kirby said. “I grew up in Luverne and went to Crenshaw Christian Academy, but my mom, Angelique Botello, went to Highland Home.”

At just 20 years old, Kirby stepped into her journey with the drink shop in November 2021 as the manager of Squadron Nutrition under the shop’s then-owner Brittney Reynolds. She purchased the business in June, changing the name to Busy Beans and refining the shop’s focus toward tea, traditional milkshakes, scooped ice cream, and coffee drinks.

Email newsletter signup

“Growing up, my mom and all her friends called me ‘Beans,’ a nickname my grandmother gave me,” Kirby said. “So, when I bought the shop, we introduced coffee, and we are always so busy. I thought, ‘What’s a better name than Busy Beans?’

“Being in the hometown of my mom and seeing all the people that come and talk and bring me pictures and memories has sort of been a full-circle moment for me.”

Sonya King is a first-grade teacher at Highland Home School. She walks across U.S. Highway 331 almost every morning to purchase tea for herself and her two daughters.

“I love it,” King said. “Lots of times I come in the morning and mostly I get a tea, usually three at a time. It keeps me focused and awake to get through my day.”

Customers visit the shop from as far away as Greenville and Luverne, and Kirby said most customers prefer energy teas.

“If I had the chance, I would come every day,” King said.

Kirby offers ready-made beverages and also “dry teas,” which include all ingredients needed to make her specialty teas at home by adding ice and water.

This year, The Busy Beans offered a Christmas special on dry teas, packaging them as Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. By the end of the season, Kirby expects to have sold nearly 700 dry tea packages.

Kirby also delivers, for a fee, on Thursdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., charging as little as $3 for local deliveries and up to $8 for customers in Luverne.

All teas and flavorings are sugar-free, Kirby said, but customers can add candy or whipped cream for a sweater treat.

Kirby said she loves making teas and coffee drinks, but what motivates her the most are the loyal customers who keep coming back for her specialty beverages and that feeling of community.

“I absolutely love everybody that comes in,” Kirby said. “I get to see them every day. We build relationships and talk. It’s so much fun.”

Sardis community resident Katelyn McElwaney said her friend invited her to try the tea, and she’s been visiting the shop once or twice a week ever since.

“I mostly come for the loaded teas,” McElwaney said. “I like the boost of energy and the taste.”

The Busy Beans is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.