Pelham residents unite to support Rolling Steam cafe with GoFundMe page


The Rolling Steam coffee shop in the train station passed out free cups of coffee during Random Acts of Kindness Day.

For the past 12 years, the Pelham train station has housed one of the town’s charming haunts: Rolling Steam. The small cafe is owned by Lois Teller, a woman who had created a community of patrons out of the once rushing crowd of morning commuters with her warm affection for coffee and people.

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rolling Steam’s revenue dropped 90%, a terrifying prospect for any small business owner.

Teller, who is contractually obliged to provide heat by paying for oil throughout the winter months, faces the same troubles that plague many small businesses during this challenging time. Lately, she said she feared that she would be forced to close her beloved store.

One of Teller’s dedicated customers is David Hannan, a Pelham Manor resident who formed a bond with Teller over the course of his time in Pelham and has made it his mission to try to help her save her business. 

Upon hearing about the challenges facing Rolling Steam, Hannan sent out a message on the Parents of Pelham Facebook group, asking if people would be interested in donating to a GoFundMe page for the store. Many members of the online community, who had long been greeted with a smile and the occasional playful jab from the shop’s owner, responded positively.

Though Teller was initially resistant to asking others for financial help, she relented. Within eleven days of its launch, the page for the coffee shop had raised $3,085 toward its goal of $12,222, with 52 donors providing support.

“It’s tremendous, what they did for me,” Teller said. “I was crying… for me, it’s like, ‘they really do love me.’” 

Teller has created a welcoming environment for her customers, so much so that both Hannan and Teller reported that patrons will regularly drop in just to say hello to her, even if they’re not buying coffee that day.

“She’s got one of those personalities that you just want to be involved with… she has a quite gregarious personality,” Hannan said.

With this level of community support, perhaps this is the beginning of another chapter for Rolling Steam.