Nick Berry loves coffee. He has since he was 15. And it's a love brewed from the life-changing events that happened over a cup of java in a coffee shop.
Now, joined by two friends, Berry will open a community space in Lansing's REO Town where people of all ages can enjoy coffee, community and art. He and his partners will also roll out the coffee experience through a wood and steel cart on wheels at events or on city sidewalks during permitted seasons.
In September, Berry launched Blue Owl Coffee
with friends Rich Whitman and Adam Klein. Providing a special blend of coffee through a customized bike cart was initially a marketing strategy for the upcoming coffee shop. After word and popularity took hold, the Blue Owl Team directed their focus on opening a brick-and-mortar venue at 1149 S. Washington in REO Town.
"This whole thing—starting with a blue owl—came from a dream," says Berry. "It's all about taking your dream for something and sticking with it."
The space—vacant for about 30 years—is undergoing a build-out and re-do. Expectations are to open Blue Owl Coffee sometime in January 2017. To date, Berry has introduced community members to the upcoming shop through informal art and music events at the site.
"People came for a bit to hang out," says Berry. "We did a jazz night, and did some donation-based events. We want to show people the space before it opens, and to show them that this isn’t your typical coffee shop—it's your shop."
The Blue Owl Coffee Company will deck out the long neglected interior with hand-selected and handmade furniture, fixtures and décor—all keeping with the industrial heritage of REO Town.
"We’re building it ourselves," says Berry. "It's going to be pretty fun, and we're going to create an aesthetic that captures the industrial nature of this beautiful building."
Blue Owl Coffee serves up a variety of special coffees using beans supplied through the local Craft & Mason
and Bloom Coffee Roasters
. Signature javas include a nitro cold brew kegged coffee, as well as coffees that draw on different flavor notes akin to wine and beer. The upcoming shop will seat about 65 people and is expected to create a few part-time jobs.
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