Roll on, ye Build-Outs, roll on! Our globe-spanning series on new cafe openings continues today from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, home to the city of Marquette. Coming soon is Velodrome Coffee Company, a new roaster/retailer bringing modern coffee to Yoopers in need of a tasty cup. This is our first Build-Outs of Summer feature from the UP, and indeed, the first story in nearly eight years of Sprudge to hail from across the Mackinac Bridge.
As told to Sprudge by Brice Sturmer.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Velodrome Coffee Company is a new coffee roasting company trying to bring specialty coffee to a town that hasn’t been acquainted with it yet in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our motto is FAST | SIMPLE | FRESH and we hope to help more people appreciate well roasted, traceable craft coffee by first of all, offering quick service. We want to feature coffee in the simplest way so we have broken each of our coffee offerings down into three categories: One Speed, Three Speed, and Ten Speed. We are also taking a simplistic and straightforward approach to our menu and getting away from the traditional drink names, but relying more on the makeup of the beverage itself… latte=espresso+milk. Not only will our coffee be freshly roasted on-site, but we are also going to create a fresh space for people to hang out in. Or aesthetic is bright and clean, with some nice soft natural wood elements and since our shop is laid out in little sections, each seating area will have its own vibe.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
The space is located right across the street from a very progressive natural food market called the Marquette Food Co-op. The shop is located on one of the busiest streets in town and along with the other businesses on our block, we’re determined to make the end of our Washington Avenue the best place to be downtown! The space features large street facing windows, original hardwood flooring, as well as original vintage heat radiators. Upstairs is a sick Airbnb. The whole building used to be an old single level duplex, and now as a commercial building it maintains this obscure floor plan… we’ve decided to play off the spaces we have to work off so our cafe will feature a little roasting room, a main area with the bar, and two other seating rooms, each with its own distinct vibe.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Even as a small startup we will source all our coffee as directly and relationally as possible. We plan to always be serving at least one coffee from a farm we’ve already visited. Our other coffees on the menu we will have met the producer, or have a close relational connection to them through a trusted colleague. So, that is to say, we plan to serve only single farm and completely traceable coffees. As for roasting, we plan to sit somewhere in that happy middle between medium and light. We want to bring out sweetness and will rely on regional characteristics to help maintain a wide range of flavors in our offerings.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We’re starting small and lean! To start we’re rolling out with a custom powder-coated La Marzocco Linea EE single-group paired with a Eureka Zenith 65e. We’ll be rocking an under counter mounted FETCO XTS 2131. For ergonomics and the sake of faster service, milk for espresso drinks will be stored in an ice bin next to the espresso machine.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Yes! We’d like to thank our good friend Rebecca Vanderlinden for her hard work in conceptualizing our logo and branding feel. Our architect and landlord Dax Richer of RG Design Company. We’re working with Michele Dupras of Revisions Design Studio for lighting and decor and with Josh Masserang for some custom furniture elements. Last but not least, we plan to work with David Rossow for some custom painting and signage.