Coral Gables adds coffee to its offerings
Mike Johnson never intended to be in the coffee business, but when considering a coffee shop as part of his collection of waterfront bars and restaurants in Saugatuck, he had a difficult time with the idea of further promoting Starbucks or other coffeehouse giants.
So Coral Gables Coffee was born.
“We initially started the name with mention of The Annex in there,” Johnson said, referring to the name of his 3-year-old cafe. “I dropped it because ‘Coral Gables Coffee’ sounded so good. I’m not terribly bright, but I know well enough that that name just sounds good.”
In the world of peddling goods and services, much time and thought is given to “building the brand.” Coral Gables, which for 50 years has been a Water Street landmark at the head of the channel to Lake Michigan, now is building the name by selling “Topper o’ the Mornin’” and “Lighter Roast Beach Blend” coffees with retailers from Keeler to Ada.
The 12-ounce bags cost $8.99. Johnson said the coffee, which carries a label with a sketch of the historic building Coral Gable occupies, makes up about 10 percent of his sales.
“It was very slow the first year, but it picked up quickly,” he said. “It’s not a huge percentage of the business compared with the rest of the food and beverage and marina ... but its future is very promising. The more stores we get in and the more recognition we get, the better it will be.”
Johnson said he spent about six weeks in Lansing three years ago doing taste tests at Paramount Coffee, which supplies the blend of roasted beans behind the label.
One of the perks? Johnson owns the right to the coffee blends he helped create, so if he changes to a new provider he can continue with the same product.
The Annex Manager Kris Oons said Coral Gables has a decaffeinated version of “Top of the Morning” as well as a Fair Trade organic blend. The cafe also makes specialty drinks with the same beans, she said.
John Connor of Saugatuck Township said he meets a group of friends at The Annex each morning.
“I’m no coffee expert. I couldn’t tell the difference between a Rwandan coffee and a Sumatra, but I know this is a good coffee. And it’s the nicest place in town to drink a cup, too,” he said.
Coral Gables Coffee also is sold at Pete’s and Repete’s party stores, Meijer in Holland, DeMond’s Super Valu in Douglas, and Marathon convenience stores in Saugatuck.
Bulk discounts are available with Web orders through email@example.com.
The Holland (Mich.) Sentinel