Mcfarland’s Coffee Closet Serves Perfect Blend of Café and Community


McFarland brews a hot cup of joe for his customers as the Coffee Closet.

Hope Rose Mauch, Social Media Editor

When walking into the Vinyl Closet on Main Street to find new music for your collection, you are suddenly met with the sweet aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. As you look around the store, hundreds of records in bins are surrounded by bold colors of red and gray. In the corner, there’s a coffee cart that is run by Jacob McFarland, a senior here at Norristown Area High School. You will probably see him behind the counter, humming and making a cup of coffee for someone in the shop. 

 When I sat down to interview McFarland, he did not speak a lot; however, Angie McFarland, his mother, would give more detail to his answers.   

In May of 2020, McFarland opened up the Coffee Closet with Barista Jake in his father’s record store Vinyl Closet Records. Due to COVID-19, McFarland was out of work and needed an outlet. Through the quarantine, he became obsessed with making coffee for family members in his house. With this newfound passion, he and his parents worked together to open up the Coffee Closet with Barista Jake. 

 “I would always make coffee for my dad and family members, and that was a good thing for me,” said McFarland.

The Coffee Closet doesn’t charge customers for the coffee but accepts donations, which are donated to a local nonprofit each month. As of now, the Coffee Closet with Barista Jake has sponsored 11 local non-profit organizations. One is picked each month. Each non-profit gets all of the donations the Coffee Closet collects that month. For some organizations, physical items are collected and then donated to the organization. 

McFarland and his family do not financially gain from the coffee cart; however, they do gain emotionally and mentally. McFarland himself is on the spectrum and, with the coffee cart being a part of his life, he has become more sociable and has overall changed as a person in the way he acts and does his work. 

McFarland has seen people who come from very different lifestyles than those he is used to; he has helped those people as well. The day before our interview, he and his mom took the collected donations of money and more items donated to sponsor people in need. While visiting with the people and handing out everything, McFarland felt selfless. It was an eye-opening experience for him. 

“It was a lot,” said McFarland. “Everyone was grateful.” His mother added that this was the first time McFarland was seeing what great things he had done whereas he didn’t previously know the full effect of giving back to people in need.   

McFarland has become a philanthropist with his work. He has learned the greatness of giving back to important causes. He has many important role models in his life who inspire him to keep doing amazing things. 

“I look up to my mom and dad, a lot of my teachers too,” said McFarland.

The Coffee Closet not only gives back to the community but also works with kids on the spectrum. The Best Buddies program at Norristown Area High School was actually the first to be sponsored by the coffee cart.  The students from Best Buddies work at the coffee cart with McFarland and his mom to learn work ethic and also how to manage working behind serving others. His mom also conducts interviews with each person to give them experience in an interview setting for when they go to get a full-time job. Working in this setting prepares kids on the spectrum for what a work environment will be like. 

The Coffee Closet with Barista Jake is an amazing non-profit that is doing amazing things. It helps so many people in the community and is constantly giving back to the community, providing such a positive attitude and outcome. 

If you would like to visit the Coffee Closet you can go to 2117 West Main Street Norristown, Pennsylvania, 19403. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday 10 am-3 pm.