New owners of Buck’s Coffee Cafe in Highlands change name, not legacy

Formerly Buck’s Coffee Cafe, new owners Clay and Leigh Hartman of Charlotte may have changed the name to Calders Coffee Café, but plan to keep the same vibe many on the Plateau are accustomed too as part of their daily routine.

“We are specifically interested in keeping it the landmark and tradition it is,” said Leigh. “The only changes are cosmetic. The coffee is still organic, fair trade, shade grown, we wouldn’t mess with that.”

Former owners Buck and Kim French said after operating Buck’s Coffee Café it was time to hang up his barista hat.

“It’s time to go, 18 years is long enough,” said Buck. “We enjoyed it, we met a lot of great folks, but it’s time to get me a tractor and retire to the farm and enjoy life.”

Formerly Buck’s Coffee Cafe, now Carders Coffee Cafe after the long-time staple was renamed by it’s new owners, is located at 384 Main Street in downtown Highlands,N.C.

The Hartman’s have been visiting Highlands for years and moved here June 2018. Their opening day was their 20th-wedding anniversary date. Since they began visiting, they knew they wanted to do something in Highlands, they just weren’t sure what yet.

“It was instantaneous and inexplicable,” said Leigh. “As soon as we visited here, we wanted to move to the mountains. The weather, terrain, and Main Street. It’s the classic Main Street.”

The name “Calders” holds a special place in the Hartman’s hearts as it was the place they had their first date and thought it was a fitting new name.

Leigh said Clay, a former naval-carrier pilot, is also a pretty good handyman and he’ll be tackling most of the cosmetic changes. The Hartman’s 8th-grade son Luke attends Highlands School and while Leigh said Charlotte was a great city to live, it’s not nearly as safe as Highlands.

“In other places you have high-caliber crime,” said Leigh. “The fact that you lock your doors for bears and not people is a really good thing. Luke couldn’t go anywhere alone in Charlotte, now he can walk to school, or Kilwins, or wherever, it’s perfect here.”

For more information about Carders Coffee Cafe click HERE.

The changeover of owners at the Buck’s in Highlands is a separate entity than the Buck’s Coffee Cafe in Cashiers and has no affect on operations there.

Pictured at the top of the article from left are new owner Clay Hartman, Corbin Ginn, Brittany Burton, and new owner Leigh Hartman.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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2 thoughts on “New owners of Buck’s Coffee Cafe in Highlands change name, not legacy

    • Great question Al, I meant to include that in the article. The Buck’s in Highlands and the Buck’s in Cashiers are separate entities and the change in ownership has no effect on Buck’s in Cashiers.

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