BROOKSVILLE — A new business is moving in to cater to local coffee enthusiasts. And, despite a slowdown of commerce in Hernando County brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this new business is right on track to open its drive-thru window sometime in May.

The Bean Bar sits in a highly trafficked triangular-shaped parcel between Cortez Boulevard and Wiscon Road, three miles east of Mariner Boulevard. The building is bright barn-red with bold black accents and a wrap-around drive thru that, at one time, served Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and fish tacos.

Lauren Richards, 30, owner of the Bean Barn, knows her coffee.

Richards said she understands the vital importance of a cup of joe in any community — big or small — and although she may young, is confident its essential quality isn’t missed on the masses.

Even during a struggling economy, there is always money for coffee, she said.

Richards had a vision before locating to Spring Hill with her young family about a year ago. She and her husband, Joe, are raising four children who are 9 and younger, and the three daughters, age 8, 7 and 5, are aspiring mini-baristas.

“They are excited to help,” Richards said.

The youngest, a 1-year-old son, is recovering from a liver transplant he underwent in November in Miami after being diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer. The successful procedure delayed the opening of the coffee shop a few months.

But the family is now ready to open, pending a few final touches.

“It should be any day,” Richards said.

Richards grew up in Idaho where she said drive-thru coffee houses are plentiful, and she said she was surprised to find only franchises in Hernando County. Thusly inspired, she and her husband set out to find a location.

The Richards found it in the former Steak Boss that closed in 2018 after a successful multiyear run.

The property fit perfectly with Richards’ vision.

Coffee is indeed the main focus of The Bean Barn and will include traditional coffees, espressos and chai and a unique sampling of signature Barn Brews. But the Bean Barn will also appeal to non-coffee drinkers, Richards said, with Red Bull Blasters and Lotus, an organic newcomer to the energy drink market.

A total of 50 beverage selections, including 20 sugar-free varieties, are on the menu, as well as varieties of smoothies and fizzy drinks that may pique the interest of children.

Richards said some food items will also be offered, including bagels, muffins and simple breakfast sandwiches.

The Bean Barn is located at 15270 Cortez Blvd.