PJ's Coffee on track to open on Highway 39N in Meridian

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

Farheen Lala is planning to open a PJs Coffee of New Orleans franchise at 1514 Highway 39 North in Meridian, near the intersection of North Hills Street. The building will be reconstructed to add a drive-thru. She hopes to open the store in October.

A new coffee shop with southern roots is under construction, with plans to emphasize a convenient drive-thru and southern hospitality.

PJs Coffee of New Orleans is a specialty coffee brand that claims to use only the top 1% of Arabica beans.

Founded in 1978, the chain has branched to more than 50 locations across the United States, nine of which are in Mississippi.

Business owner Farheen Lala is looking to open the tenth location in Meridian, at 1514 Highway 39 North, near the intersection of North Hills Street.

“PJs being the way that they are, being southern, being from New Orleans, it just lent itself a more charming aspect rather than just a retail store,” Lala said. “Plus, when I researched about PJs we were really, really excited to know that they are so good with all their growers and farmers, they literally back those people up.”

Lala is married to Meridian native and oral surgeon Dr. Asif Lala.

Together the couple have three children.

As a parent, the quickness and convenience of having a drive-thru was something that really resonated with Lala and was a must have for the new location.

“Convenience to anyone is the idea of a drive-thru," Lala said. "I’ve got three kids and my biggest thing is if I don’t need to take them out of the car I will not take them out. If you have to go inside and order and sit and wait then it just makes it a lot harder. It just made sense to stop by, get what you wanted and be on your way.”

The coffee shop will offer its standard fare, but will also offer specialty drinks, beverages exclusive to the brand, breakfast sandwiches and pastries made on site for the day.

According to Lala, construction is underway and she will be keeping the building’s foundation, however, there will be major changes, including the drive-thru, a more accessible entrance and different seating areas.

In addition to the standard seating, there will be a patio area courtyard and a meeting area inside.

“Say that you have a conference or meeting, you can be asked to be put into that space,” Lala said.

The space will not be for rent, however, but more so an option for guests who make purchases and wish to use the space.

The business will employ about 10 workers, ranging from managers to numerous baristas.

Weather permitted, the business hopes to be ready mid-October.

There are no plans to expand to other locations in Meridian but Lala is open to the idea.

“After we’ve done this and we see how it benefits the community, who knows, the sky is the limit at that point,” Lala said. “I went to different places and the problem was they were leased locations and I couldn’t create the space that I wanted. Here, I was able to do what I wanted.”

A ceremonial groundbreaking is planned at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8.

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