For the past two years, we have been spending all of our free time and funds to build out what we consider to be a pretty cool little coffee bar.
A Damn Fine Coffee Bar, if you will.
It's a modest space - about 800 square feet - but as residents of the neighborhood, we can attest that this tiny shop is going to go a long way! As the closest coffee shop in any direction is at least a mile away, our shop will be an oasis in an otherwise barren coffee desert. Located at 3317 W Armitage in the southwest corner of Logan Square - Damn Fine Coffee Bar will offer its patrons something a little different. In addition to the amazing coffee we'll be serving from our anchor roaster - Halfwit - we will also be offering manually brewed coffees from featured roasters from around the country!
The goal is to provide our customers with consistently great coffee while offering an exciting seasonal coffee menu from Halfwit and our guest roasters. Every month we hope to introduce our customers to brands and roasts that they (or we) may have otherwise never been able to try. Additionally, we hope to offer flights and cuppings as we transition between roasters every month. And of course we will be selling bags of Halfwit beans as well as beans from our featured roasters.
But it's not all about fancy coffee.
Damn Fine Coffee Bar is a neighborhood spot that hopes to appeal to every type of coffee drinker. Meaning - if you want a pour-over from a limited quantity single-origin batch, we've got you covered. Conversely, if you want a great drip brewed cup of coffee that you can cream and sugar to your taste, we can do that too. And If you want a latte or cappuccino made with local ethically sourced milk - we've got that covered as well.
What's the space like?
We looked at about 2 dozen spaces in total but there was something magical about the abandoned beauty salon at 3317 W Armitage. It didn’t hurt that we would have great neighbors (Ground Control, Scofflaw, Sink | Swim, Best Intentions, Go Tavern, La Estrella and the Busy Beaver Button Company to name a few). And to be completely transparent, a couple of us live in the neighborhood - so selfishly we REALLY wanted a shop near by.
Make no mistake - the place was a mess. A God-awful mess. But once we started peeling back the layers - we found some really nice features. A (less than perfect) tin ceiling was hiding behind some rotten drop ceiling. A beautiful brick wall was masked by some gross drywall. And the red tinted concrete floor was unveiled after we popped up that tile.
Regarding the buildout - we tried to use as much of the existing materials as possible. So a lot of brick, wood, concrete and tile. It's not going to be overly designed - nor will it be super hodge-podged. We're going for a minimal / comfortable vibe offering communal AND personal seating (custom built by our pals over at C&C Woodwork Chicago). We're hoping our customers find it to be a great place to work, socialize or just relax.
Ultimately it would have been easier to be in a cookie cutter storefront on the ground floor of a condo building, but that just isn't who we are.
First and foremost we are going to open regardless of the Kickstarter's success... We're so close we can smell it (the beans of course)! So even if you can’t pledge - please come check us out late June / early July!
That being said - we are doing this campaign for a few reasons. The first is a bit of a "coming out". A lot of speculation has been going on regarding the space and what exactly is going into that storefront at 3317 W Armitage. So, we wanted to make sure YOU were the first to know.
Kickstarter really is such a great way to let all our friends, family and potential customers know what we are doing - and it gives them the opportunity to take advantage of it. We know that people have been WAITING for a shop to open up in the neighborhood. We also know that it's going to do pretty well (especially considering the lack of options) so we figured why not hook up our early supporters with some discounted coffee and limited edition merchandise?
As far as the funds are concerned, we're at the point where we need to fine tune the build-out. We've done most of the heavy lifting but we need to get our fixtures, cups, plates, decor and signage in place. We're also hoping to use these funds to help with initial payroll and staffing.
So that's what we're doing. We're pre-selling some coffee, offering up some limited edition t-shirts and mugs and hopefully going to generate some funds to operate at full capacity out of the gate.
We've got packages at every level - so if you have the means to offer even $5 for the cause - we're totally grateful!
So if you think you'll be frequenting the shop - this is a no-brainer. If you're on the fence - maybe this will help get you over to the neighborhood! Or maybe you're just super cool and want to support an independent business. Whatever your reason - we really appreciate the support and we hope to see you in the shop - enjoying a Damn Fine cup of coffee!
We'd like to give a shout out to all the folks who have helped us out along the way - especially Sarah Wood, Tim Pabalan, Mike O'Hara, Adam White, David Roth, Jonathan Brown, and Taylor Littrel.
Risks and challenges
To be honest, the only challenge we'll have once we're totally funded is just getting through that red tape of opening the door. As long as we pass our inspections, we should be good to go!
The only other potential challenge will be sourcing our featured roasters every month. Some brands are very particular (and rightfully so) on how their coffee is prepared. So we may need to engage in additional off-site training from time to time. That can be expensive.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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