Alton's legendary Milton Schoolhouse has already become a place for bold visionaries, daring entrepreneurs, and pioneering artists to come together. Now it's time for us to give our town a coffee shop as fresh and free spirited as the folks who have made this place their home.
A delight to meet you- what's going on here?
In 2009, Joel and I purchased The Milton Schoolhouse- and we've been renovating it ever since. Our main goal in buying the building was to help others start their own businesses, and begin to bring some economic success to our lovely little riverfront town.
We've been mulling over the idea of starting a coffee shop for about two years now. A lot of end-of-the-workday conversations with other like-minded people led to Maeva's. We've been preparing the schoolhouse to host a coffee shop for the last year, and now we're finally ready to build out Maeva's for Alton.
Who is this Maeva of which you speak?
Maeva is a concept that arose from a brief stay in New Orleans, LA earlier this year. We ended up there for a foggy day in January, and the city gave me the words to describe what Alton was missing. Our town has so much in common with its sister on the Mississippi: a rich and dramatic history, fascinating old structures, and the spirit that comes only from being born and raised on the river.
But Alton is missing out on the joyous collision of cultures, ideas, and neighborhood zest we found down on the bayou. Why? Although Alton is undergoing an artistic and economic renaissance- we have no where to come together and share that spirit in a casual and inspiring environment.
Maeva is a gypsy- of no particular origin. A timeless beauty, an unraveling mystery, a constant inspiration. In a town of 30,000 people (and with a suburban population of nearly double the size) Maeva's will be the first coffee shop Alton has seen in years.
Let's talk shop.
We are hosting this campaign to raise money for the equipment we'll need to make amazing drinks for our neighborhood. Much of the equipment can be purchased refurbished or used- but investing in a quality espresso machine and espresso bean grinder will be essential in handling the traffic of this amazing place for many years to come. The roasting company we are working with is willing to give us wholesale pricing for this equipment. Through them, the espresso machine we would like to purchase is just under $7,000, and the espresso grinder is about $1,000. The rest of the funds raised will be put toward a large drip coffee maker, a coffee bean grinder, a commercial blender, and a refrigerated display case.
But a shop isn't just about the equipment. You have to have the proper place to put it all together. We have a perfect classroom picked out for Maeva's that already has most of what we need in place:
We built a commercial kitchen below the future home of Maeva's earlier this year- and found a fabulous baker to work with who specializes in cheesecakes.
Joel has been reclaiming wood from old barns, bowling allies, and ancient farm houses to find the most beautiful and unique material out of which to make tables and display cases for Milton.
We have the personal funds and construction know-how to build out much of Maeva's by our own hands. One of a kind furniture, inspired design, and flawless work flow is our aim.
Maeva's will be serving coffee from Goshen- a local roasting company in Edwardsville, IL. Their coffee is love at first sip, guaranteed to delight the taste buds of any caffeine connoisseur. In addition to coffee, coffee base drinks, and a delicious selection of baked goods, Maeva's will also be offering hand mixed Italian sodas, traditionally brewed chai, and a limited selection of carefully curated coffee based adult beverages.
We are located on a busy street- and in a building that is much loved by our community. We anticipate Maeva's truly being a place enjoyed by all who call the bluffs of the Mississippi River their home.
With the successful completion of this Kickstarter campaign, construction on Maeva's will begin in November. We plan to be open to the public by, at the latest, June 1st, 2014. My sister- a talented barista and aspiring mad scientist- will be joining us next May to help with the hiring and training process.
What if the sky opens and the internet heavens rain down a lot of extra funding?
By all means- keep contributing to Maeva's til the end of campaign! Additional funds raised will speed up the construction of a 1,200 sq ft, gorgeously landscaped outdoor sanctuary (i.e. a patio) for lovers and dreamers alike. Extra funds will also help us better accommodate our friends with disabilities and improve the outdoor curb appeal of Maeva's shop front.
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenges will be tackling the build out of the shop itself. Maeva's is a labor of absolute love- with many people volunteering their talents to making sure the shop opens up in June 2014 with all of the vivacity she deserves. Acquiring licenses, hiring a professional plumber, choosing the best equipment for our needs, and finding just the right employees will be our biggest hurdles. But, we will find a way or we will make one! We are determined to bring Alton a meeting place that serves amazing coffee and delicious conversation.
The awesome rewards we have available for those who help get Maeva's off the ground will all be ready to ship by the end of November, 2013. This means very little wait for you- you'll get to enjoy a little taste of the shop even before it opens! Our incentives will also be delivered before Christmas (domestic shipping)- so they are a perfect way to get your friends and family excited about what is happening here.
Incentives involving private events hosted at Maeva's will be redeemable for dates after July 31st, 2014, and before December 31st, 2015.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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