With change in the cafe scene below Broadway, a new generation of community hangouts in the area has grown including Arabica Lounge (2010), Analog Coffee (2011) and Broadcast Coffee (2012). Others — like Kaladi’s 2012 overhaul — have reinvested in the space.
The latest to join the group is Black Coffee Coop. The cooperative was looking at an E Pike home before settling on an open space next to where the old Travelers used to be on E Pine. They’ve kept the Travelers chai alive on the block even as the new Raygun Lounge gaming space brought a different type of community to the block.
CHS spoke with Scott Davis and Stephen Hrivnak about the effort to pull together a worker owned coffee shop cooperative:
“I used to want to start my own coffee shop as a business owner,” said Scott Davis, a local barista from Trabant Coffee who has worked in the coffee business for six or so years. The idea for Black Coffee Cooperative came to Davis after he started looking into creating his own business. ”When I learned what it means to start a business, I realized I didn’t want that — I wanted that social aspect and work aspect that you don’t get when you’re just a boss to somebody. I didn’t just want to lord over people. I don’t like the inherent hierarchy in owning a business.”
As the shop opened this fall and has settled in, it’s become clear how the mix of views behind the group — socialist, anarchist, etc. — will manifest in the new space. Black Coffee is equal parts coffee shop and gathering space for meetings and community discussion.
Black Coffee is located at 501 E Pine and is open every day from 7 to midnight. You can learn more at blackcoffeecoop.com.