Berkeley, California…this is where the dream began. On a chilly spring day, my husband (at the time) and I visited Cole Coffee – I only knew about Cole because my wasbund went to Berkeley and was taking me on a tour of his college town. I immediately understood his love and passion for this place. I love adventure and travel but I especially love experiencing different community cultures. This place was oozing culture but it was also all about community.
Oh, and Cole sure knew how to make a mean poached egg paired with fresh bread and jam. It really started with the damn egg. We talked about how there was nothing like it where we lived and if we could just wake up and go get a delicious poached egg with fresh bread and jam then we could up our happiness level even more while living in a town that we felt to a certain extent, lacked culture and community.
We spent our getaway talking, and dreaming about this and asking “what if?” and “could we do something like this?”, “should we?” and more importantly, “could we?” — We came home inspired and spinning from the experience. As the days went on, we realized that we couldn’t stop obsessing on it. I then began to just play with names if we were to open up a community coffee house. I had a few silly ones, some cool ones, at least I thought they were cool at the time, but ultimately decided on 6 Degrees because it represented what we wanted to bring to our community. 6 Degrees of Separation!!! Yes, that was it! DOB- 12/12/2014
It took us almost a year to get open, many days we wanted to cry, other days we kept asking wtf are we doing!?! But it was too late to back out, we had already signed a lease and we were well into construction. Now, construction on a brick and mortar– that is another post altogether! We ended up having to sue someone that we thought was a license contractor, however he lied and used someone else’s license and stole a lot of money from us….sigh, we were stuck in the mud until we could replenish funds and find an actual licensed contractor that knew what they were doing AND could get us open…fast. Time and money was running out as was our patience and the energy and excitement that was driving the dream.
Curious to know what the main hold up was other than contractors and moola? It was the dream of the poached egg damnit! Our local County Planning Dept wanted us to put in a full hood and kitchen in just to poach some fricken eggs. At Cole’s they just had a counter top poacher, so simple. Sooooo… hundreds of thousands of dollars later we had a full kitchen that we really didn’t want and that was the beginning of the end really.
Although our cafe…restaurant was successful for almost two years, the kitchen is what sunk the ship in the end. I look at this pop-up 6 Degrees as a successful failure. Why? Because we pushed our dream through no matter what the obstacles were and we designed and built a place for our community to gather and enjoy farm-to-table eats with delicious coffee that was roasted in- yes, none other than, Berkeley. But truly the kitchen was just too much. It was too much to manage, understand, budget, find the right talent that would stay and so on. The coffee side of our dream was making money, it was profitable, but the kitchen ate into those profits and ultimately we closed the doors just a few days after Valentine’s Day, two years in. We woke up and both could no longer breathe from the stress of it. We sold the equipment and lease to a Cuban restaurant that went in and we walked away, bruised and broken and yes, broke.
The good news is that we rebuilt our money situation, we took the lessons from this adventure and the laughter and to this day, even as ex husband and wife, we often talk about how beautiful our cafe was, 4.8 rated and how much the community loved it and still misses it.
I will be releasing a module and some info on this very project, it will be focused on the Dos and Don’ts for a brick and mortar, it will also include all of the steps that I took to design out the space, the logo, the brand, the community and how I inspired customers to come in and to also return…with friends…and family…and neighbors.
Until then, dream and dream big, because no matter what, you will always have some beautiful memories, even from dreams that close out in the end.
Always a dreamer…and a doer,