After more than a year of searching the New York real estate market we finally found a spot to plant our coffee roots at 240 Sullivan Street. It was a total gut job but we were smitten by the possibilities of the location. The first weeks were spent with H plotting an optimal layout in a very tight space and me immersing myself in the design possibilities. Once set, we began interviewing and hiring an architect and GC to build what would become our flagship location.
Like so many stories of small business owners we hit obstacles at every turn. Deadlines were missed, time lines were ignored, contractors were MIA, mysterious stop work orders, missing paperwork and a lack of communication i.e. radio silence was brought to a level that we could barely comprehend. If it were not so painful and expensive it would be aptly described as a farce.
To keep it short, we had to cut our loses and start again. That meant interviewing, screening references, sorting bids and hiring a new team to build and even rebuild what was incorrectly done the first time. This of course only fueled the naysayer’s who we politely ignored.
Of course, we had a huge support system, in our friends and families. And we had a few superstar standouts in the coffee world that were always willing to answer questions and steer us in the right direction.
I could go on and on with the boring details of our trials and tribs but would rather fast forward to June 2009. Like the last inning of a World Series where your team could win if they could just shut out the opposing team with three quick outs, we could taste the celebration all the while nervous of the possibility of extra innings. To bring it home we needed the right team and so we went to the bullpen.
Our ringer, Battery Dan, AKA Danger Dan who has always been waiting in the wings was ready when the call came in. Dan a southern gentlemen from Alabama brings years of coffee slinging experience from his Seattle and Portland days. Danger is serious about coffee and is driven by his passion for presenting coffee at ever higher levels.
Soon after, we were lucky to recruit the Lady Jessica Blauvelt. Jessica, our secret weapon, formerly of Murky Coffee has kick ass strength and determination both behind the bar and in life. Oh and did I mention that she spent the last few years saving animals. Your basic Saint who wields a fierce tamper.
Our third team member, Laura Dipaola, is our coffee charmer and phenom. Her bright personality and contagious laugh charms everyone in the room including our Marzocco who we have yet to name. Laura has decidedly adopted us all, always baking us cakes and buying sweet things for us to taste. Her frenetic energy can short out an AC so watch out for this electric lady.
Next, we brought on Texan Hector Coronado. Hector has a thirst for coffee knowledge and for life. He is starting his PHD in the fall in Spanish Lit, training for the marathon and has a love of reading and music ranging from classical to hip hop. This cerebral Texan is ready to talk coffee, among many other things, when you are.
To round out our urban family, we have the talented Jennifer Goma, who can bike from here to Arizona without breaking a sweat, sing her ass off, bake almost anything and craft a beautiful menu board. If your looking to meet Jen, you can find her biking to a farmers market near you.
Over the last few weeks of June, the team worked hard to bring the inning to a close. We still have some fine tuning ahead of us but today as we ripped down the paper from the windows and hung out our A frame offering free coffee to our neighbors, we were all filled with a sense of accomplishment and excitement.
Our first coffees went to Jordan and Flemming who were waiting patiently for us to open the doors.
Within moments we caught the attention of locals walking by...
shortly after that we had a line to the door.
We were welcomed with open arms by the neighbors and we received a blessing from Steve the Mayor of Sullivan Street.
While people waited for their drinks they commented on the beautiful design of the space, the photographs taken by my friend Guillermo and most importantly the aroma of coffee. Then as they sipped their first taste, they sighed, smiled and gave us the reassurance we were looking for..... that we had created a great neighborhood spot, where you can come for a great cup of coffee, chat with your friends or visit other countries through the cup in your hand.
Posted by Rita as Wired Scout.