It was in November, 2017, during a Thanksgiving family vacation to St. George Island on the “Forgotten Coast” of Florida that the concept first snuck over the horizon. We loved the island, we loved the beaches, but one thing was missing….COFFEE. For me, every vacation day should start in a local coffee shop, relaxing while sipping coffee and planning the day’s events (or pure rest) ahead. Being cursed with an entrepreneurial spirit, my first thought to rectify this situation was “we need to open a coffee shop on the island!”.
Luckily clearer minds prevailed. While the idea of our family—with no coffee shop experience—opening a coffee shop six hours from our home in Johns Creek, Georgia, suddenly seemed ludicrous, the concept of opening a quality, craft-oriented coffee shop did not.
In January 2018, our son David bought a home roaster and ordered our first coffee shipments from six different regions. His love for coffee and the process of creating great coffee grew over the coming months. He provided our family and close friends with fresh roasted coffee as he learned the art and science of roasting. In February 2018, my sons David and Daniel, along with family friend Bill Rogers, began to meet weekly to formulate our plan and begin looking for a place to house our dream. It was a long and arduous process that provided no tangible results.
In the summer of 2018, we found an intriguing boarded up house in downtown Duluth just across the railroad tracks from all of the wonderful things the town has to offer. In December 2018, we purchased the property and began the process of designing our future home.
Unfortunately, it became obvious after having the house inspected by engineers that the dream of rehabilitation was not feasible. We were still in love with the land and decided to buy the adjacent property to expand our options. We worked on many civil design plans during 2019, but none of them made economic sense. During the spring of 2019, we added several other members to our Forgotten Coast planning team, including my wife Allison, my brother in law Joe Scinta, and David’s wife, Emily.
In order to start our dream, we searched for and eventually found a location to put a stake in the ground while continuing to work on the downtown Duluth property. We signed a lease at our current location in June 2019 with plans of opening our small café on September 1st. Well, as Steinbeck so wisely wrote, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Clearly, we are in mid-January and just now planning for our grand opening in two weeks.
While the journey has been much longer (and more costly) than originally planned, the destination is definitely worth the circuitous trip. We can’t wait to share a cup of great coffee with you at our new location. It is our hope that it brings you a little peace and joy in your busy day!