In Old Central City, the smell of old books and fresh coffee intermingle and create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere at Cicada Books and Coffee.

But the books and coffee have an easy job of making people feel at ease after being greeted with the dazzling smile and cheerful "Hi! Welcome to Cicada. What can I get you?" from manager Madi Lubbe.

Cicada Books and Coffee, at 604 14th St. West, has been in operation for a year. Lubbe is a new manager after starting as a barista.

Cicada is one of the newer places in Old Central City with a young staff and ownership in the traditional antiques section of Huntington.

Huntington's west end has a reputation for being a little rough around the edges, a reputation that makes Central City and its businesses stand out, but also offers a challenge for those trying to make it a better place.

"The antique district is a diamond in the rough," Lubbe said while brewing a cup of tea for a customer. "I think it has so much potential but, sadly, it's older folks who are retired who own the buildings who barely have enough time to come operate it. It's slowly losing its shimmer."

Cicada is a business one would expect to find in places like German Village in Columbus or even Seattle. Its business and vibe are indicative of a wave of change for Central City in which an influx of youth is trying to bring back some of the former glory of the area.

"We're trying to bring that back. That's why were working with another place up the street called Alias, which is another community space," Lubbe said. "They rent out to people to have parties, raves, and things like that. It's bringing light to a dark section. We've got a lot of positive feedback so far."

Cicada isn't just for hipsters. The shop sees a wide variety of clientele.

"Young, middle age and old - we see everybody," Lubbe said. "We have WiFi, books and coffee - there's something for everyone. We have kids coming in after school and getting something to drink and hanging out."

There's a struggle going on behind the scenes throughout Huntington with the young people trying to bring new ideas into town and getting some push back from the old guard like those who own the buildings along West 14th Street, Lubbe said.

"Some things they're OK with and some things they aren't," Lubbe said. "I have an acquaintance who did my bat tattoo who I think would be amazing to open a shop down here. She does really great work, nothing trashy, but the owner of the building she was looking at wouldn't come to see her because they said they didn't think that would fit the front."

But there's no hard feelings, and there's plenty of understanding.

"We're not trying to start a fight," Lubbe said. "Were a community here. If the older people don't want something, we just can't do it anyway. We have to create a balance, so we're trying to have an influence. We're making strides."

Cicada offers open mic nights where people read their own works or works from writers and poets they like. There's also a board game night on Fridays. There seems to always be something happening at Cicada Books and Coffee. You can check them out on Facebook to see what the latest happenings are. You can also call them at 681-378-3463.


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