In November 2022, I walked into the campus coffee shop, eager to see the new look. The old, familiar Unity Village Bookstore and Coffee Shop had closed the day before, and Unity had leased the space to local entrepreneur Jeremy Springer. Springer had been looking to open a café in Lee’s Summit but couldn’t find something that matched what he had envisioned. After meeting with the mayor of Unity Village, who mentioned that Unity was looking for someone to take over coffee operations on campus, he realized this was the perfect spot. The Fillmore Café was soon born.

In the first few months of renovation, Springer replaced some of the tables and hard plastic chairs with comfy chairs and cozy sofas. He added softer lighting and some rugs and also changed the artwork.

Of course, the coffee is the real star here. The baristas whip up cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, mochas, and more. The café serves Messenger Coffee, a Kansas City-based company that offers ethically sourced beans and fair-trade practices. (Their coffee has the prestigious Q-Coffee certification from the Specialty Coffee Association.) I ordered a smoothie and asked for some fresh whipped cream on top, although the Italian soda definitely tempted me. The tasty sandwiches, baked goods, and gourmet tarts on display also got my attention!

As I sipped my drink, I perused the artwork. Each month a different artist’s work is featured, and they’re all for sale. The café hosts a variety of events including yoga on the front lawn, a monthly open mic night, and book signings. You can reserve space for a group as well.

Coffee Talk on Campus by Jolene Clark – images of the inside of the coffee shop in Unity Village with artwork on the walls

A Welcoming Space

According to Springer, the Fillmore Café is a welcoming space “that isn’t imposing a certain perspective on anyone who comes through the door. It’s a nice place to have conversations and specialty coffee, while supporting local artists and local charities. We treat everyone the way we want to be treated.” 

The Fillmore Café is open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located across the street from the Unity Village Hotel and Conference Center. Just look for the sign in front.

To find out about events, visit the café’s Facebook page. For more news and updates, visit the café’s website.

When you visit, you’ll probably notice one popular element missing from the new café space—the bookstore and gift shop. Fortunately, books and products are still available in the new Unity Gifts & Books retail space, which has moved to a room in the Village Commons area (beyond the double doors at the back of the café that lead into the Administration Building).

Offerings here include a variety of unique gifts, books, and local products to help visitors remember their visit to Unity Village. (Of course, Unity books and products are also always available online.) Hours for the retail space are limited to Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although you’ll often also find it open during campus events and retreats.

This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.

About the Author

Jolene Clark is the archives manager at Unity World Headquarters. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Missouri. To arrange to visit the archives at Unity Village, contact Clark at [email protected].

Jolene Clark


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