Dennis and Sharon Cummings
Dennis and Sharon Cummings

VAN WERT – If there is anyone with a business on Main Street in Van Wert who matches up with Bob Seeger’s legendary hit “Main Street,” it is Dennis and Sharon Cummings.

The Cummings own 109 W. Main St., home of Brewed Expressions Café and their own quaint business, Décor and Moore Gift Shoppe.

“We’ve known the Bowen Family (who run the café) for 30 years,” said Dennis. “They were located on the south side of the city and wanted to relocate downtown. We were able to lease this space to them.

“I’m part of the Main Street Van Wert Board. We wanted a coffee shop downtown,” continued Dennis. “This worked out just perfect.”

Dennis and Sharon lived in Indianapolis and knew each other in high school. Things got more serious, however, when they met and developed a relationship through personal friends. In 1978, they moved to Van Wert because Sharon had relation in the area and they wanted to live in a smaller town.

One of the talents that Dennis brought with him was the fact that he had been a firefighter in Indianapolis. Once he arrived in Van Wert, he was hired on as a member of the local fire department for 10 years. From there he gained employment at the State Fire Marshal’s Office where he did fire investigation and was a canine handler for Van Wert, Paulding, Mercer, Auglaize and Darke counties.

“I traveled statewide as needed,” said Dennis. “In 2006, I was seriously injured; that was the end of my fire career.”

The Cummings name remains with the Van Wert Fire Department, however, as their son, Dave Cummings, is a paramedic on the department.

“I had friends on the department in Indianapolis and I got into firefighting there,” said Dennis. “I decided to do it because I really like helping other people. I love people, I love talking to them and hearing their stories.”

Once Dennis was injured, he started looking for a supplementary income. Two things came into his life. He looked into the possibility of filling ink into various inking machines. He opened an inking shop and sold inking supplies at a business in the southern part of the city. When the opportunity arose for him to purchase the downtown building, he opened a small shop beside the coffee shop in the Main Street business.

In addition, Sharon and he loved delving into traveling selling various crafts and gifts.

“We traveled all over for 40 years and sold crafts,” said Sharon. “When we started the ink business downtown, we decided to add the gift shop to make it a little different.”

“I worked on crafts at home. I did it because I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom,” Sharon continued.

For a while, Sharon also worked at a consignment shop in Grabill, Indiana.

“It is our little shop,” said Dennis. “We are here if somebody needs us.”