Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2017

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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111 tax?!" That stuff. Then come the management issues: "How do I get ahead of the business so I can work on it, not in it?" Then you just keep going, making all kinds of mistakes along the way. Advice I would give somebody that wants to take the leap is: 1) Don't do it unless you love it, because it's going to be way harder than you think. 2) Get a bookkeeper before you put $1 in a bank account. 3) Surround yourself with the best people possible to build the best cul- ture possible. 4) Don't be afraid to ask for help. 5) Don't compromise on quality of product, hiring and training, or brand, because at the end of the day that's why people will come in the fi rst place, and why they'll keep coming back. BMag: What do you guys think when you're planning cafés? Did you take inspiration for them from any particular experiences or other cafés? And do you plan to expand further than you guys already have? CB: In the beginning, our hopes for our cafés were to look and feel the way Ryan and I saw things. This is still true today. We wanted them to feel residential, not commercial, and to be very open and airy while feeling comfortable and inviting. We wanted our counters low and our espresso machine to be on the front counter facing the door—at the time the norm was to put it on the back counter—so people would always be greeted. When we built our fi rst store—which Ryan and I built ourselves without a contractor or real architect—we just pulled out every Dwell magazine Ryan had, which was all of them, and started ripping out pages. It was like an analog Pinterest. We also referenced some things online, but at that time the only place that had design we liked in coffee was in Scandinavia. My good friend Robert Thoresen of Kaffa [in Oslo, Norway] was an (unknowingly) big infl uence on our design aesthetic. We just loved the open-kitchen feel, and residential materi- ality and fi nesse that Scandinavia was leading with, including of course all of the midcentury stuff. So we mixed that approach with Dwell, and California infl uences such as Eichler and Eames, and we were off to the races. We are currently at nine stores between Santa Cruz, San Francis- co, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and absolutely have plans for more. We actually have several projects in the works right now that we'll be announcing later this year. BMag: After working in coffee for more than a decade, do you still fi nd new things to be excited about? CB: I'm more excited now at Verve than I ever have been, actually. I think life is as exciting as you are willing to let it be. That's why kids are so pumped all the time! They're like, "What's this, what's that? How does this work? Why is that the way it is?!" I think it's fun to keep the eyes open and the head up. Maybe this goes back to me as a kid who wanted to be an explorer, and who had an "overactive imagi- nation," but to me this is what it's all about. I never set out to build a static enterprise that was just fl at and repeatable. To me that's a death sentence. I also don't think it's good business. I've always wanted to push things, take chances, and venture forth to see what's just beyond that next hill. I can't help it. It's in my DNA. We had a longer conversation with Colby than we have room to print, so drop by Barista Magazine Online to fi nd even more. THERE'S NOTHING LIKE THE FEEL OF BARISTA MAGAZINE IN PRINT. SUBSCRIBE TODAY! OCTOBER + NOVEMBER 2017 ¥ VOLUME 13/ISSUE 4 Agnieszka RojewskA Poland's Coffee Superstar The New Slow Bar

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