Being personally fulfilled and recognized for my work is how I know I succeeded. Not worrying about who’s not coming in and not worrying if the bills will be paid. My journey hasn’t been easy. But through ten years of working in the TV and film industry, I learned that coffee connects people. And I’ve been striving to connect people through coffee ever since… (Melissa Stinson)
My name is Melissa Stinson, and this is my coffee story.
I ended up in the coffee industry organically. Working in the TV and film industry was pretty routine. I wasn’t happy. Yet I learned that coffee connects people. People need it, and it’s non-negotiable. The first time I had a really good cup of coffee was probably in 2015… Parlor at Anchor Coffee in Bed Stuy. That’s what started this whole adventure. I didn’t feel tired, and my stomach didn’t hurt – unlike my prior encounters with coffee. I just felt good, and I could really taste it.
It turns out that a married couple had just purchased the coffee shop. They fell in love with the brand and opened a music-themed coffee bar. Obviously, this became my new spot. At that time in my life, I was emotionally unsure and unfulfilled, but also curious and hopeful. I had always wanted a business, but I never knew what it would be. This was it. About nine months later, I moved to Chicago, my home home.
I’m proud of following my gut, taking a chance. I started doing pop-ups in 2015, but it was a struggle. Nobody knew what I was doing or why. There wasn’t any money in it, but I had a concept. Using coffee as my product and pushing my brand, ‘Everybody’s busy.’ It’s a play on the idea that people are so busy, but they’re really not. It’s about priorities… being productive, not busy.
Nowadays, when I go into the shop each day, I first turn on the machines and connect my Spotify playlist. With sounds shaping the space, hosting customers feel personal. I also do a Daily Mugshot – an image of me and my mug-of-the-day. Obviously, I make coffee throughout my day. This month’s theme is Ill Communications, with offerings like Cassette Tape (Coffee with a shot), Record Player (Cappuccino), and MP3 (Matcha Latte).
Simple surprises are my favorite part of daily work. I don’t know what the next day is going to look like; I never know who’s going to come by and what song is up next… the delightfully unknown. The quiet thrill is inspiring and scary. But the coffee is consistent. What is challenging is getting people to drink better coffee. And money. Fortunately, I’m not in it for the money. I am, however, working at becoming a better businesswoman. I’ve recently partnered with Onyx from Arkansas. We’re thinking of a music-themed box set. Coming soon…
In this era, a nod on Instagram is support. I am keeping alternative hours for those in Chicago, so please visit!
This coffee story is edited by @Apaxos