Five years in, Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop has become community hub on Johnson Drive

Sandy Russell behind the counter at Twisted Sisters.
Sandi Russell behind the counter at Twisted Sisters.

Pop in to the colorful Johnson Drive storefront on a given morning, and you’re likely to see some familiar faces.

There’s Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt talking with residents. The little bell above the front door rings and a cadre of employees from ScriptPro, just around the corner, file in. Kevin Fullerton from Springboard Creative, with its offices just a couple of doors down, heads inside for a pick-me-up and spends a few minutes catching up with friends from the NEJC Chamber office.

Five years after it opened its doors in August 2012, Twisted Sisters coffee shop in Mission has become the go-to spot for community characters — and strong coffee.

“It’s interesting to think about how it’s evolved,” said Twisted Sisters co-founder Sandi Russell. “It really has become this kind of hub. It’s sort of bizarre.”

But the idea that the shop started by Russell and her sister Nancy Hansen, both Mission residents, would become a such a strong draw for the community wasn’t much of a stretch. From the start, the pair had set out to create an atmosphere where friends could connect over a leisurely drink in the morning. When they took over the space from Morning Glory Espresso five years ago, Russell went about remaking the interior with bright, friendly colors and expanded seating. In a hyper-connected era, they decided against offering wifi access, encouraging people to look at each other instead of their phones and computers.

When Mission police decided to start participation in the national Coffee with a Cop program, Russell and Hansen suggested the shop as a venue. It was a move Russell says started to establish the shop as a community gathering place.

“That was really kind of a fun collaboration for us, and I think it opened our doors to a lot more people,” Russell said.

To mark the five year anniversary, the owners have freshened up the interior, adding vibrant carpet to match the palette of the walls and storefront. They’ve also expanded their weekday hours, staying open until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and adding more pastries to the menu.

“We kept having people saying, ‘We wish you all were a open later in the afternoon, we need that afternoon coffee,'” Russell said. “So now we’ve got it set up so that through noon we’re a cafe with a fuller menu and then noon to 3 we’re a coffee shop with pastries.”