Driving west on NYS Route 23 (heading toward destinations in Windham or East Durham) a one-word billboard catches your eye. ‘ESPRESSO’ appears in huge letters next to the logo for the Red Star Café & Bakery, encouraging drivers to get off the highway and head on to Main Street in the charming community of Cairo (that’s CARE-OH, not Kai-Rho) where proprietors Shahen & Kim Guiragossian provide caffeinated potables and delicious baked goods to travelers and locals alike.
Kim met Shahen on a film set in New York City where she was working in wardrobe and he as an electrician. They both lived in Greenpoint and began developing a true partnership. Shahen had a long-standing connection to Greene County as his father had purchased an upstate getaway along the Sunside near East Durham back in 1968. As the couple began thinking about re-inventing themselves and leaving the film industry for a less hectic life with their young sons, They set on the idea of bringing outstanding espresso drinks and hand baked goods to their beloved getaway community of Cairo.
Both being hands-on creatives, albeit with absolutely no experience in running a café or a bakery, they bought the family cabin, as well as the property at 526 Main Street just prior to the COVID pandemic. Kim gave birth to their fourth son in February of 2020 and the country went into lock down. While wondering what a post-pandemic world would look like, the couple decided to take their time and renovate both their new home and business space themselves. They build, painted, and outfitted everything you see at Red Star, and by Memorial Day 2022, they were ready to open, and have become a destination business that is playing a big role in drawing customers back to Main Street.
The success of the business and loyal customer support has encouraged Kim & Shahen to renovate an existing barn behind the café into an event space for local gatherings, performances, and presentations. “We are building a place where people can bump into old friend and make new ones” notes Kim, “and love being a part of a community where our sons can grow up in a safe and healthy environment.” Red Star Café & Bakery is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 8 am to 5 pm so stop in and enjoy.
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Topics: Success Stories