Katlyn Irwin has always had an appreciation for all the unique towns, hamlets, and communities located throughout Greene County. In her opinion, the sights, sounds, and sensations they offer couldn’t be beat by anyplace in the world. That’s why she answered that longing call to home after wandering New York State. Now, she operates a cozy little café known as Shipwrecked, where she and her husband Nathan are serving up coffee, carefully crafted baked goods, and countertop banter to everyone at their location at 8 Reed Street, in Coxsackie, NY.
Katlyn first developed her connection to culinary experiences and great literature at a young age. A voracious reader, even as a child, she could never find enough text to sink her teeth into. As she reached her teenage years, she soon discovered that that passion for the written word would lend itself to a love for farm-to-table food as well. This thirst for knowledge and new experiences would lead her to pursue her B.A. and master’s at SUNY Albany. By the time she graduated in 2008, she had a crystal-clear idea of what she wanted to do and where she was going to go to accomplish her dreams.
Katlyn remained in the Albany area for a few years after graduating, cutting her teeth in the food & beverage industry at the Interstate Hotels & Resorts. It was here and at school that she had found another hobby to pour herself into – wine. The wide world of enology offered so much history to learn and libations that tickle all the senses that she couldn’t help but be hooked. This led her to move herself down to the NYC region to broaden her experience in the industry. From January 2012 through June 2015, she worked as a bartender at some of the best establishments in the city, including Colicchio & Sons and Gramercy Tavern. She kept busy in her off-time too, earning her Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 3 and Certified Sommelier certifications.
Never one to get complacent, Katlyn delved further into her wine studies and became the Wine Director for the Abbey Restaurant Group. She also capped off this final year in the city by attaining her French Wine Scholar WSET certification. But now, she wanted to set down her roots in a more quiet, relaxed environment. Remembering her time at SUNY Albany and leisurely weekends in Greene County, she knew right away where to go. That’s why in 2017, she made the move back north to Coxsackie to work as the Sommelier at the Reed Street Bottle Shop. Once here, however, Katlyn found that what drove her the most was getting involved in a community that she had such a connection to. She made it a point to volunteer when able and worked part-time for the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District.
Luckily for her, another significant opportunity was about to present itself in 2020. The Coxsackie Village Board of Trustees found itself with two available openings, and as a natural conversationist and problem solver, Katlyn jumped at the chance to run. With her ties to the region and her experiences in NYC, she sought to bridge the gap between new additions to the community and those who had lived there their whole life. With a lot of hard work (and support from Nathan), Katlyn was able to secure her position as Trustee and Liaison to the Wastewater Department and Planning Board. Now, it was time to set her sights on achieving her next goal.
With so much knowledge of the food & beverage industry and an ever-burning desire to give back, Katlyn knew the best way to put it all together was to open a café. After all, with all the delicious local products available, and with so many people seeking a calm place to enjoy some banter, books, and bagels, it made too much sense not to do it. Plus, with the recent renovation to Reed Street and the beautiful storefronts up for grabs, she already had a picture-perfect location decided for her. Thus, Shipwrecked News, Books & Café was opened in August of 2021.
Even though she and Nathan were expecting the birth of their child in December that year, Katlyn threw herself into her new creation. She certainly had plenty to do, as well, with the people of Greene County lining up to enjoy her delicious baked goods and organic coffee. The store’s “Bagel Saturdays” have been an especially big hit, drawing in throngs of hungry visitors from 9 AM – 1 PM. Of course, there’s always plenty of fascinating books and news to read while there as well. Katlyn prides herself on keeping a carefully curated collection (much like her wines) but is always ready to talk shop about literature or bring something new in for a customer. And she hasn’t forgotten her commitment to helping either, having just recently baked and donated pumpkin bread to the Coxsackie Area Food Pantry for their Thanksgiving boxes.
Katlyn represents all the ingenuity and devotion to development that keeps Greene County growing. It’s one of the many reasons why we will continue to thrive and attract even more success to our wonderful county.
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