Posts in Storefront
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.

 

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.

 

 

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.