By SCOTT BAUGHMAN
Visitors to Chimney Rock Village can sometimes be overwhelmed by sights and sounds – and even smells. And one of the most distinctive ones is the aroma of fresh brewed coffee coming from CRV via Coffee on the Rocks.
Proprietor Bruce Godzik has been running the coffee shop and Old Time Photo studio with his parents since 2010.
In 2020 his girlfriend Becca, who is now his fiancé, moved from Florida to help with the shop.
His mother Sandy still helps out at the shop on occasion filling orders and helping customers with their photos which have an “old west” theme to them.
Focusing on theme was a big part of what drew Bruce to the area for the coffee business, but he’s no stranger to Lake Lure and the surrounding towns.
“I’ve been back and forth to Lake Lure from Florida since I was 10 years old,” said Bruce, who is now 56. “My parents retired in lake lure in 2005 and we purchased the storefront in 2009 while was still working as an art director for Amazing Pictures creating photo and video productions for Disney, Universal, and Busch Gardens theme parks.“
After his parents retired up here it was an easy step to move up to be near them and he moved here in 2010.
Bruce found a real sense of acceptance in the shadow of Chimney Rock.
“I then started to volunteer at the fire department and thereafter elected member of village town council,” he said. “The main thing I like about the village is living and working in the same beautiful area. Every time I would visit from Florida over the years I longed for the opportunity to re-visit chimney rock and lake lure because this place is so gorgeous.
But how does working in a coffee shop in rural Western North Carolina compare to previously having a job as an art director working with Universal Studios Orlando and at the “happiest place on Earth” ? From Bruce’s perspective it compares quite favorably.
“The last project I worked on was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. It was a lot of fun, but it was time to start a new adventure and enjoy the mountains, hiking, and small town life” he said. His previous experience with the theme parks also involved creating photo operations for the Star Wars sections of Disney’s parks in Orlando.
However, coffee has always been close to mind for Bruce and somewhat of a passion, too.
“I have a friend who had a coffee plantation in Costa Rica,” he said. “I visited their place many years ago and learned a lot about the different coffee varieties and processes of coffee production.”
Adding a new theme to the old storefront a decade ago took some effort, but the customer response proves it was all worth it, Bruce said.
“I had the idea then to re-theme this shop with the old time wooden look and it worked well”
“Mom helped with the decorations and the wooden floors in the shop were reclaimed from a basketball court,” he said. “My dad was a real presence in Chimney Rock that also helped get the business some attention. My dad would dress as the old town sheriff and meet and greet customers out in front of the shop and tell them about the old time photos inside.” “Many businesses here in the village diversify like that. People will come in for a coffee and then decide they want a photo.”
“My father Frank passed away in 2022 we miss him greatly as wore many “hats”
as the sheriff, Santa at Chimney Rock State Park, and kindest father anyone could ask for.”
Bruce said we also try to make sure they remind visitors about the Riverwalk just behind the shop.
“Business has been pretty strong here with the riverwalk and the entrance to the state park and the ice cream shop nearby,” he explained. “Many visitors don’t know about the riverwalk so we remind them to go out back and explore and have your coffee on the rocks.”