We've got a brief reprise for the Build-Outs of Summer, thanks to Little Bear Coffee Co in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They're not just a coffee shop, they're a coffee shop and stuff. Or rather, “& Stuff.”
Renovating a 6,000 square-foot-building—perhaps too large to just be a cafe—Little Bear is also home to an upcycled clothing shop, a jeweler, and a leather shop, to say nothing of their own still-in-the-works distillery and speakeasy. The new space is soon to be open, so we're taking one final sneak peak on our way out; we're checking out the new Little Bear Coffee Co in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
As told to Sprudge by Isaac Fox.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Little Bear Coffee is a coffee company out of Albuquerque, NM. We opened our first cafe in December of 2017. Our mission is simply: “Love People, Use Coffee.” To put it another way, we’re people people over coffee people (but… still coffee people, for sure). We do everything we can to provide an excellent customer experience. Whether that be through customer service, atmosphere, product quality, or just having fun. We strive to do our best to make everyone feel welcome and therefore, one of our Little Bears. We now have two beautiful cafes and a roasting facility that we are very proud of.
Little Bear absolutely loves the city we are in and we do everything we can to make it even better and more fun. We do this by providing coffee education, fun events (Little Bear camping trips, markets for local vendors, etc.) and partnering with as many other awesome local businesses as possible. We have kept ourselves pretty busy in the past two years and we couldn't be more grateful for all of the support from our city. We can't wait to see what the next two years have in store for us!
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our new space is on the historic Route 66 in Albuquerque in the heart of Nob Hill (our favorite spot in ABQ). The building has a lot of history and we are trying to honor that while building out the space to our needs. First, the building was a gas station that ended up becoming an auto shop focusing on tire recapping. We have focused on keeping the design to have that auto shop feel but be much more clean and modern.
The building itself is over 6,000 square feet and our company is doing the entire redevelopment. So in addition to our cafe, we will have multiple other local businesses right next door! Little Bear will be opening and managing a retail collective in our building called “& Stuff” that will be featuring 10+ local retailers inluding: neo thread (ethically sourced and up cycled clothing), Tres Cuervos (men's leather goods), Tumble (handmade women's jewelry), and many more! We will also have Primsa Hair Studio and Organ Mountain Outfitters.
In addition to our love for craft coffee, we also love spirits and are going to be opening our own distillery this year! There will be a speakeasy cocktail bar in the basement of our cafe that will serve craft cocktails that are all made using our own spirits. It is currently just a beautiful concrete basement, but we hope to have that built our by the spring of next year. We will also have a few permanent local food trucks on our patio. We hope to provide such a comfortable space with so many options that you could come for a coffee and end up staying all day!
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our approach to coffee is all focused around the customer. We really appreciate the support of our current and future customers and we want to show our gratitude by providing the best cup of coffee we possibly can. This includes but isn't limited to: always learning, continual recipe development, sourcing incredible coffee, purchasing top quality equipment, etc.
We will do whatever it takes to show our customers how much they mean to us and our favorite way is giving them the best cup possible.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
How is your project considering sustainability?
As mentioned earlier, Little Bear is redeveloping this entire building, so we are thinking about sustainability in a lot of ways. We specifically chose a building that had a lot of good already, but just needed to be updated and added to. There were multiple other developers that had this building under contract before us, but each fell apart because they wanted to demolish it and rebuild a new building, but lucky for us, none of them could make it pencil out. We find a lot of beauty in historic buildings and are really grateful to have saved this building and left as much of the building as possible. We even reused the cinder blocks we took out of one of the rooms to build our bar!
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We are fully opening at the end of September!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We have an incredible friend and contractor named Justo that is incredible with metal and concrete and made all of our custom tables. We would also like to thank all of our local businesses that will be joining us in this development!
Thank you! We really appreciate what your company does for the coffee community.
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