First Employee, Partnerships, and Shop Update

It's quite humorous to look back at this post I wrote a year ago in July of 2017. I thought we were close to securing a storefront and that things were crazy then; if we only knew. But that's a huge reason we decided to chronicle things this way. It's too easy to forget things or create a biased perspective of how something happened. Writing about things as they occur not only allows people be a part of the experience but also provides an honest recap to look back on down the road.

Quick Recap Since We Last Wrote

I have started and re-started this post more times than I can count over the past few months. I wanted to provide more info but some things with other businesses over the last six months needed to be kept under wraps, some things were up in the air, and other times I was just too exhausted or defeated to write. It has been an insane roller coaster ride to say the least. Depending on the week, I may have written an update on anything ranging from buying a shop space to renting to nothing, starting back at square one. But through all that there have also been a lot of positive things and great relationships cultivated.

First Employee, Partnerships, and Shop Update

One of the relationships we have had a great time growing is with The Chocolate Moose Bakery. The owners and employees are awesome, not to mention that they make some amazing confections and savory things baked fresh daily. If you haven't checked out their bakery inside of M. Judson bookstore, you definitely should, and grab a cup of Bridge City Coffee while you're there. It has been great operating our mobile cart on their steps every Saturday during the downtown market, which has allowed us to hire our first employee! Brandon has been consistently working every weekend with us as well as roasting regularly with Jon. Not to mention he's a great artist and poet, check him out on instagram @seabrooks84. We have formed some other key partnerships that I'll write more on later as we solidify the details. A couple are local here in Greenville and a couple are going more in depth with some farm relationships.

Well, I can't hold back from writing about it anymore. If any of you know me you know when I get excited I'm like a four year old waiting to open a Christmas present. We're opening a shop soon!! In complete opposition to the last six months in general, this happened quicker and easier than we could have anticipated. We have a long way to go but started ripping out some walls and drop ceiling in the main dining area last week and it felt great. We'll be writing more details and posting new pictures soon so watch instagram for that.

 

Meet Greg

It only seems fair to answer some of the things Jon did in the last post. It would be weird to interview myself and Jon is buried in roasting until the new roaster gets here in a couple weeks so this will kind of be a hybrid of answers and a stream of consciousness. I promise I'll still try to make it interesting.

G1 - You said it would be weird to interview yourself and yet here you are, starting this off in an interview format. That's weird.

G2 - It definitely is.

G1 - Well then, moving along. What drove you to coffee and starting Bridge City with Jon?

G2 - I have been asking myself that question recently as things have become more involved and difficult moving the business forward. It hits me randomly how different this is from the leadership consulting I was previously doing. However, while the motions may be different, the core motivation has remained the same. When I personally feel off kilter or get bogged down with what I view as slow progress since we are currently in the bottleneck phase of growth, I have to keep coming back to my desire to impact people's lives through work. That's what has remained constant through everything, the motivation to bring life to people by providing them with purpose and value at the place most of us spend the single biggest chunk of our waking hours.

G1 - I really thought you would drop the interview format by now.

G2 - Yeah, me too. I'm not quite sure why this is still happening. I hope people find it nearly as comical as I do.

G1 - Since we're still doing this, you mentioned providing people with purpose and value. Describe that a bit more.

G2 -  Purpose is defined as "the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists." I have learned the hard way that when we don't know our purpose, life can lose it's color, beauty, and vitality. To be sure there are a myriad of ways to numb ourselves to that truth with temporary distractions or fixes. But when we're quiet and alone with our thoughts, if we don't believe we have a purpose it's really hard to believe we have any value. Regardless of where someone comes from or what they have done or not done, they have a unique set of skills and talents. Sometimes individuals aren't aware of what those skills are, but they're still there waiting to be mined out. The entire motivation driving Jon and me to build Bridge City is to help people figure that out about themselves. When someone is able to discover the intersection of their deepest passions and greatest strengths it swings the door wide open to feel a deep sense of purpose and understanding of their value as a person. Sometimes that light bulb moment may occur in the first few weeks someone is employed with us. Other times, as in my case, it may take someone years to figure it out. But I can guarantee you it's worth spending those years to figure it out and we want people to leave their time with Bridge City with an understanding of what they're looking for, even if they haven't found it yet. 

G1 - How does that tie in specifically to coffee?

How that all relates to coffee, my answer is very similar to Jon's. Working in a coffee shop will require our employees to learn a specific set of skills but they are mostly learnable regardless of their background. I want to be clear that neither Jon nor I mean to insult baristas by saying it's an easy job, because it's not. I'm a pretty bad barista. My lattes look like my four year old daughter made them. But I'm working on that and can still make a delicious cup of coffee, I usually just throw a lid on it so you can't see what it looks like. That's what we'll expect of our employees too. Not that they would win latte art competitions, but that they would make consistently great products (better than me) while learning the importance of striving for excellence in their work and taking personal satisfaction in what they create.

G1 - What excites you most about Bridge City?

I love studying what makes truly successful leaders. I don't mean people who walked on others to "win" or capitalized on an opportunity presented to them to achieve financial success or fame. I mean people like Ernest Shackleton, Nelson Mandela, Irena Sendler, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Though they were all presented with tremendous adversity and every opportunity to throw in the towel they continued to push forward. But they didn't push forward because of a desire to win or be the best. Rather, they kept going for the benefit of those who they were serving. They were fully aware of their purpose and were able to keep the end goal front and center in their mind with the awareness that if they didn't, the people following them would be worse off for it. That's what excites me about Bridge City, fostering deep, personal growth in people so they can lead themselves effectively and in turn hopefully lead and inspire others as well.

G1 - To be fair to Jon, what is something random or funny most people don't know about you?

I love comic books. Yes, I am aware that makes me a huge nerd, my wife regularly makes sure I remember that. I put all the impressive business books and biographies on bookshelves so people see those when they walk into our house. But I put the really good stuff like Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and Superman on shelves in my closet. My reading list currently consists of Action Comics, Superman Doomsday Clock, and to remind me that I am in fact an adult, Walter Isaacson's biography on Leonardo da Vinci. I also have pretty big coin collection. 

 

Meet Jon

It's past due to introduce you to the man behind the product, the creator of every delicious coffee bean you've tasted from Bridge City. He makes my job really easy by creating a truly top notch and enjoyable roast every time. We'll do a Q & A style here between the two of us.

G - Since you're the wizard behind our products, how did you get into coffee?

J - My journey into coffee started with a popcorn popper and a new found appreciation for quality coffee. I began roasting my own coffee at home and from there the desire to learn more about this new world became a never ending rabbit hole that I'm still falling down. The combination of artistry and science involved in roasting, paired with the possibility for social impact that specialty coffee has on communities, both here and abroad, was what took coffee roasting beyond just being a hobby for me.

G - You mentioned social impact. Can you explain how that relates to coffee in your mind?

J - As I began to discover a more personal fulfillment in this new world of coffee, I quickly started to dream about the ways coffee could bring fulfillment and positive impact to people in my community. The many skillsets required to work in coffee require passion and a willingness to learn, but ultimately can be taught to most people. I started to see the potential coffee had in acting as a vehicle to bring a sense of worth and fulfillment to the lives of others. I wanted to see coffee used as a means to build bridges in our community and to provide a space where those who are often overlooked can aspire to be everything they are meant to be.

G - That's great stuff! I think you're trying to take over the blog here with these answers. You spoke about what drew you into coffee both as a product and as an avenue for greater impact. What excites you most in either of those realms with what we're trying to build with Bridge City Coffee?

J - I'm excited to be part of creating a culture that empowers people with practical, fulfilling skills to work in coffee as well as the intangible life skills that will translate wherever they may find themselves outside of the coffee world. Ultimately I want to create a space where people can enjoy what they do, and still dream for more. I'm also excited about introducing people to incredible coffees and highlighting the men and women who work so hard on the farm level to make these coffees available to us.

G - We'll keep it light for the last question. Tell us something random or funny about yourself most people don't know.

J - That's a great question. I really enjoy tiny things that have a function. It's not that I simply like miniature things, but I like the idea of something that feels like it's been shrunk in size yet still has a practical purpose. For example, an extra small pocket knife or a coffee mug that's just on the verge of being too small. But perhaps more than my love of tiny things, I really like a good pair of socks.

Gregory Ward
Sourcing and Why It Matters

Brief Update

Where to begin? We received our first order of beans from the Hingakawa Women's Association (more on them later), Jon has been up to his eyeballs in beans roasting over the past two weeks, I've been in discussions with some incredible potential partners, we purchased a new roaster, started with a great wholesale client, sleep has been harder to come by, and we're loving it! The feeling of controlled chaos I mentioned in this post has become both more controlled and chaotic at the same time. It's kind of like raising a kid or pet. You learn how to handle what they throw at you as it happens. But as soon as you figure one thing out they pull something new out of left field to throw your way. It definitely keeps us on our toes.

Community In Coffee

As I have mentioned in other posts, Mark Smesrud and Purple Door Coffee taught me how not to compromise the standards of a high quality product while still cultivating true, lasting growth in their employees. Parallel to that Scott Byington, the owner of Queen City Collective Coffee, has been instrumental in opening my eyes to the beauty and necessity of creating community through coffee every step of the way from sourcing to storefront. When I say community I mean relationships that are ongoing and real. I'm not talking about slapping a fair trade sticker on a bag then making one trip to a farm and taking some pictures to post online or put in your store. Scott has been integrally involved with farms around the world helping get their products to roasters in the US while also assisting them to improve their products and increase their own profits. He also knows that to truly help farmers and their communities we cannot just helicopter in at our leisure with good intentions. We have to listen: listen to who they are, the roads they've walked in life, what they need for their farms, what they need for their children and communities, and listen to what is most effective for us to do in their eyes, not our own. What works well here may be ineffective, or actually destructive, somewhere else. Because as much as we think we know, we don't know much.

Hingakawa

Scott has spent a considerable amount of time in Rwanda where the Hingakawa ("let's grow coffee") Women's Association is located. Oh Hingakawa, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Seriously, they are incredible. Scott has a close relationship with the person instrumental in building the farming network there to be what it is today. Many of the women who work with this farm, and another smaller one called Dakundakawa ("we love coffee"), lost loved ones and family members during the Rwandan genocide. Hingakawa has been incredibly effective at providing restoration and sustenance for these women and their children. Not only does it provide work and income, there is also a system in place that allows the women to cultivate the land around the farms to produce more income for their communities to use at their discretion for essential needs. As amazing and impactful as this is, the amount of revenue generated by coffee only goes so far. We're working to build a relationship with these ladies that best benefits them both as individuals and collectively in their communities. I'll write more on this as it develops and we'll have their beans available in our online store within the next couple weeks. Can't wait for you all to try them!

Learn More

These are a couple great reads from The Perfect Daily Grind on sourcing methods that explain what relational, direct trade, fair trade, and actually are.     

Micro Roaster? Here's What Producers Want You To Know.    

How Roasters Can Build Good Relationships With Farmers

This one is written by Torch Coffee and provides more info on Hingakawa.

The Story of Hingakawa Women's Coffee

 

 

 

Story Behind The Name Bridge City

The Work of Building Bridge City

I have been obsessed with greatness. It feels good to get that out of the way because my obsession with it has hindered me from getting anywhere close to achieving it. Funny how life works that way sometimes. The thing you think about the most constantly eludes you because blind focus on it becomes like walking through a forest while looking down at your feet the whole time, which we all know will guarantee that you run face first into a tree.

Part of the definition for the word "drive" is "motivation, ambition, single mindedness, doggedness, tenacity, commitment, aggression, vigor"; informal "get-up-and-go." Drive is what made some of the most successful people great: Elon Musk, Michael Jordan, Marie Curie, Bill Gates, Peyton Manning, etc. I'm not at all advocating that hard work and dedication aren't integral to truly achieve success, because I believe they are. But on the road we choose to walk we all have a choice to put our efforts into building a monument shaped after ourselves for our own glory or to build something bigger than ourselves. Something that outshines who we are because it's not about us. Rather, it's about building something for other people that continues working and succeeding even if we're not a part of it.

Story Behind The Name

Non profits provide some of the most meaningful, needed services for people who need a leg up. I'm fortunate to have been a part of some, like Purple Door, and witness others in action. Often they are very specialized in the populations they serve. While this specialization allows them to serve people in ways no other organizations can there can also be quite the adjustment for participants when they phase out or move on from the non profits services. I want to be clear that this is not criticism, it's simply reality. But this is where we want Bridge City to thrive. Our goal is to work alongside non profits, mainly who serve youth, to help young adults transition well into the real world, which is often cold, harsh and doesn't give a damn where or how you grew up. Our goal is to pick up where our partner organizations leave off and bridge the gap between non profit services and real world employment. We will also hire people who are not involved with our partners in any capacity, but hopefully that explanation communicates what we're trying to do.

Einstein

Back to my unhealthy obsession with greatness. In all honesty, I'm terrified to live a life of mediocrity that is forgotten the moment I'm put in the ground. I'm not writing this so any of you who know me send a text or email trying to convince me otherwise. In fact I would appreciate it if you didn't. The reason I'm including it here is because if Jon and I ever try to separate or elevate ourselves above what we are trying to accomplish or who we are trying to reach, we have failed. If all we try to do is be great, we never will be. I think Einstein said it best, "Try not to be a man of success, rather try to become a man of value." Which is similar to the drive behind our mission statement: Building hope and value through coffee. We want to inspire hope in our employees that life is worth living and can be so much more than just getting by.  And we want them to leave their time with us knowing how much each one of them matter - that they are of value.

Update and Reflection

Quick Year-end Reflection

I understand now why people always write about things after they happen. It's far easier, less painful, and allows you to shape and control the narrative. When a house is completed you can describe in detail the parts of it you like the most while leaving out the parts you don't. You can talk about how amazing the kitchen and living room are but not say anything about those pieces of unfinished trim or how the master bathroom was actually a total disaster. When you're standing in a house with stud walls and no roof yet everybody can see through it and there's no hiding anything.

Thankfully we have made a lot of progress in building Bridge City. We're on our way to growing the wholesale portion of our business more than we anticipated for the first year of business, our sourcing model has worked out well, mobile events have been great, and people have responded better than we could have asked in regards to the quality and flavor of our coffee. But we're standing in the middle of an unfinished house and it's clear as day that we haven't accomplished our goal of opening a shop yet. One of my personal goals for 2017 was not to allow one negative thing to overshadow a handful of positive accomplishments. So despite not opening our doors to the public yet, I am incredibly grateful for the progress we have made.

Shop Update

In this post I talked about a potential partnership with another organization that would allow us to open a shop. Our relationship with that group is still in a great spot. However, it became clear to us both that it will be better for them to open the coffee portion of the shop fully under their own branding. We're looking forward to seeing what they do and being a part of it behind the scenes.

Jon and I have been back and forth on how and when to open our shop. We've juggled putting off the shop for a couple years to raise the capital on our own through wholesale, having purely financial investors, taking out loans, selling our kidneys, crowd funding (which is worse than selling our kidneys), and pretty much any other means of obtaining the capital we need.   Roasting and wholesale will always be a part of our business but we don't want to spend the next couple years only doing that, crowd funding doesn't seem like the best route, and we're not going to take out a massive loan to put the business significantly in the red. However, I recently had a great conversation with a couple well accomplished, smart business-minded guys over the weekend and they helped me land on a solid idea for obtaining the capital we need. I'm not going to write about now, but if it works, we may begin building our actual shop mid to late 2018.

The Bridge City Model

Through the ups and downs of our first 9 months as a business our primary goal still remains to create an avenue that allows us to hire and train employees in a setting that stretches and grows them while equipping them with a better understanding of who they are as unique individuals. Amidst a boatload of uncertainty, that goal has been cemented in our minds. It's helped clarify our vision to inspire and equip people to love and care for those around them by first being able to take care of themselves. As it relates to the old fishing adage, we don't want to stop at teaching someone how to fish. When our employees move on from Bridge City we want them to leave with plenty of fish of their own, the knowledge of how to fish, and most importantly the ability to teach others to fish.

 

 

What Will You Do With This One, Fragile Life?

Life is Fragile

This post isn't necessarily about tangible steps we're taking to build Bridge City Coffee, but rather why we are building it. It's different than the other posts, but I think that's a good thing at this point in the process. This is also the most personal one, which is difficult, so bear with me.

My wife and I just returned from a 2 week trip to Portugal for our anniversary, which was much needed. The last few years have been full of a lot of pain and frustration while learning difficult, but necessary, lessons. To be sure there were good things in there as well, but it seemed dominated by difficulties. To stay true with our commitment to be as transparent as possible, the trip was also very timely for us since my wife and I recently had a miscarriage. Our move to Greenville was made for a handful of reasons but the main one was to get a better handle on our lives so we didn't just continue treading water to barely stay afloat. Needless to say, having a miscarriage right after that was a huge punch in the gut. But it wasn't even a regular one. It was more like you just finished a marathon and are trying to catch your breath from all the running, then out of nowhere you get sucker punched right in the gut. So Portugal was much needed. Then the morning I woke up after getting back I find out a friend from college died in a freak medical accident just 5 months after getting married. Literally right as I am writing this my sister just texted me that my uncle died. Life is a bitch sometimes. But it can also be beautiful, and fragile. Sometimes, even in the midst of pain and confronting our mortality, all I need to remind me of the beauty in life is to see my daughter smile and to hear her laugh. That little girl has the power to heal a multitude of pain for me.

God

I don't believe truth is relative - it is absolute. But so many things we label as truth, and therefore believe are absolute, are in reality not. I'm a Christian. Simply reading that statement likely elicits one of a handful of reactions: "Cool, I am too! I can probably keep reading these posts and trust what this guy says." "Christian...hmmm...wonder what that actually means. Is he the right kind of Christian? He better not write anything liberal or in support of gays or he's not for real."  "Oh, Christian. Probably a weirdo, not going to read this anymore."

I've struggled with publicly identifying as a Christian on this blog. Not because I am ashamed of believing in Christ and spending my life trying to follow Him. Rather, if you're just reading this online and we don't know each other it's easy for you to filter everything else I say through a preconceived notion of what a Christian is to you. And to be honest, I am ashamed of being associated with the well-earned predominantly negative perception of Christians. There were times in my life I likely contributed to that stereotype but I have long since distanced myself from those actions. I would wager everything I own that Jesus did not want His followers to be known as Westboro Baptist is or as an oppressive, judgemental religion. Anyone with half a brain can read through the Gospels and understand that. He also nowhere says that science is evil, Democrats are going to hell, or that Baptists are best. I love science, astronomy, don't prescribe to a particular denomination, and have two close friends who are gay that I don't believe are going to hell simply based on their sexual orientation. All topics for another time, maybe an in person meeting at the Trappe Door if anyone wants to do that. All that to say, I believe Christianity is so much more than an oppressive, exclusive, stale religion. I believe it is an inclusive, revitalizing, compassionate, forgiving explanation for why we are here, how we are supposed to live, and why the universe is so amazing and complex.

Bringing It All Together

How does all of this relate to Bridge City Coffee? It relates because we want to build something truly impactful for the individuals who drink our coffee, follow us on social media, or walk through the doors of our shop by operating as a loving, wise representation of the way we believe Christ wants us to live. That just happens to be through the means of a coffee roastery and (future) shop. To be honest, building something like that is a really hard thing to do. Because as Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr all proved in different ways, you can't please all the people all the time.

It's difficult to know how to hold the tension of standing firm and turning the other cheek as an individual, let alone an entire business. We are called to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves and to remember that while we are never to compromise the absolute, unbending truth we believe in, there is also a time for everything, which sometimes includes simply listening to someone rather than being forceful with them - Proverbs 25:11-14. Above all that, one who professes to be a Christian is to remember that even if we are the most eloquent and convincing speakers, or understand the mysteries of the universe and excel in academia, or even have faith strong enough to move mountains while giving away everything to the poor -- even if we die for something, if we don't have love we gain nothing.

Well, now you know a large part of what is driving us to build Bridge City. Love is a tall order. It involves sometimes being submissive and looking like fools while at other points involves being bold and declarative about things we'd rather not be for the sake of someone else hearing the truth. We will falter and fall short at times but we're damn well going to move forward trying to make this world a better place for people who need a leg up -- from the farmers we work with, to our employees, to the customers who drink our coffee. Life is too short and fragile to not add some more beauty and love to it.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

About UsGregory Ward
Struggles, Apologies, and Exciting News!

 "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of it, not the absence of it." - Mark Twain

Apologies

I think I may institute a policy of sending out free bags of coffee to everyone subscribed to this blog when I don't follow through with writing when I say I will. Maybe then I'll be more prompt with writing...maybe. My apologies for not writing when I said I would. While I could simply go in and erase the part in the last entry where I said I would write the following week, I won't. Doing that wouldn't be staying true with chronicling the good, the bad, and the embarrassing. Let's just pretend I said I would write a month after the last entry rather than a week.

Struggles

The last month was more difficult than we expected it to be. After deciding not to open the shop when/where we were planning and wrapping up our first huge wholesale order things seemed to aimlessly float around in front of me. I do my best when there are challenges to overcome, clear goals to achieve, and lots of work to be done. The challenge of the last month was learning to be ok with not opening a shop in the foreseeable future, which is something I was not expecting to deal with. It was more of an intangible, personal thing to overcome rather than a concrete problem that can be solved by cleverness or hard work. Give me a tangible, impossible challenge to solve any day rather than having to deal with my own faults and weaknesses. But as Mark Twain points out, true courage is not founded in ignoring or suppressing things. It's found in looking challenges/fears/shortcomings in the face and taking steps forward to overcome and own them rather than letting them own you. "Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25

Exciting News (about a store)

Anyway, enough personal rambling. On to the exciting stuff. I'll write more details as things begin to solidify, but it seems that after deciding not to open a shop the way we were expecting (with some difficult lag time in between) we're back on track to open one in a different way! Jon and I have had series of meetings with a group that wants to open a coffee shop and bakery combo. The great thing for us is that they want to fund and own the shop but have a professional baker running the bakery and coffee pros (enter Bridge City) running the coffee portion of it. It's not the exact location we were expecting with our own shop, but it's still a great one! This would be different than we originally anticipated doing on our own but there are some huge positives along with those differences. As before I'm writing as things happen, which means I will either reveal more about this as it happens or come back with another cue the Charlie Brown mopey theme music post about how things didn't work out. Either way, come back for more reading and try to spread the word about what we're doing, we'd really appreciate it!

Overdue Update

Good grief, where to begin? We began this blog to chronicle what happens with Bridge City Coffee as it is being built. The point being to accomplish something fairly unique in that the outcome of what we are trying to accomplish is still unknown and we are updating you on things as they occur. You can read more about that in this post here. Since we began, this is the first major thing to happen that we hadn't been planning on. 

Since I last wrote we wrapped up our first big wholesale order, a potential collaboration with a really cool business in our roasting space is in the works, I’ve experienced a death in the family and had multiple family members with serious health issues, we decided to not open the shop right now and instead ramp up our roasting and mobile operations, which is a great thing, Jon and his wife took a trip to Iceland, my wife finally moved here permanently from Denver, and we’re going to start working with an all female farm from Rwanda...I think that covers most of the major reasons I haven’t written for much longer than anticipated. Oh yeah, and Game of Thrones has been incredible. 

During our last entry we were moving forward with opening the shop and things were trending in a good direction to do so. That trend continued. However, we realized that if we opened the shop now it would require us to spread ourselves very thin risking the quality of what we want to do for quantity. It was a difficult decision to make given how much both Jon and I, but more so myself, want to open a shop. To be clear, it is in no way a decision to not open a shop at all. Rather, given the unique model we are building, we are postponing it until our operations and finances are more established and fine-tuned.  Business growth is a tricky thing. Grow too fast and often the intended identity of your business is compromised. As a result, the mission, core values, and culture are never truly established the way you originally believed they should have been. Conversely, if you grow too slowly and avoid taking any chances you run the risk of not growing your customer base or income enough to make it to the next level. 

If our goal was simply to make money and grow a brand, opening the shop now would have made sense; but we want to do more than that, much more. To impact people’s lives – our employees, the farms we source from, partner organizations in the community, and of course our customers – our growth will have to be more calculated and steady. If you know me, this is something completely contrary to my preferred mode of operating and honestly quite difficult to do. But here we are walking down the path we’ve chosen at the first big fork in the road for Bridge City. It definitely won’t be the last big decision we have to make, but there is always more weight and gravity that come along with first of anything – the first day of high school or college, the first year of marriage, realizing the kid you just had isn’t going away for at least another 18 years, deciding to bend the knee to Daenerys, or any number of other big decisions. I'll write more about what our operations will look like focusing on roasting and pop-up events in the next post, which will be sometime next week.

Storefront

I was a bit ambitious with my goal for writing twice a week. Plus, I don't think anyone wants their inboxes filled that much, so keeping it closer to once a week is a win win for everyone.

Storefront Update

I'll jump right in and get to the update. Things have continued to move at a rapid pace, which I actually prefer. But it's a handful to keep up with at times. Calvin and Hobbes was one of my favorite things to read growing up. There are moments I get a mental picture of Calvin and Hobbes bouncing down a hill in their wagon. Despite racing down the hill at a crazy speed they're somehow able to maintain control, though often crashing at the bottom. All of this while one of them is usually pondering some deep, contemplative thought. That's a comical snapshot of how things have been going, minus the crash at the bottom.

We have had meetings with our interior designer, contractor, as well as a coffee shop expert at the location we want to secure. Surprisingly all of them have been overwhelmingly positive. The only issue at this point is financing, which is a big thing. While we have a great investor willing to come on board, it would likely only be half of what we need to build out the space, buy all the necessary equipment, and have some operating capital left over. One positive is that we now know a more concrete idea of what we will need since we have specific numbers from the rental agency, contractor, and interior designer. Previously we were just making best guesses.

We're trying keep things in a healthy perspective and not lose site of the forest through the trees. Our goals will remain the same whether we are able to secure this location or not and we're excited to see how that unfolds.