Stop me if you’ve heard us say this before, but good coffee can be found anywhere nowadays. In 2018, places like Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Portland have thriving coffee scenes sure, but that’s not the full story anymore, not even by a long shot. Now there’s just as much excitement around a new cafe in a city of 50,000 as there is a city with a few more zeros tacked on to the population. And our next stop is one of the former.
Mural City Coffee Company is the newest edition to a revitalizing downtown Dothan, Alabama, population: 60,000. They are setting up shop (and home) in the nearly century-old three-story building, where they are hoping to become a community gathering space for customers of all ilk. Good coffee, a community library, and an old freight elevator, Mural City Coffee wants to be Dothan’s home away from home… but also the owner’s home not away from home.
As told to Sprudge by Destiny Hosmer.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Mural City Coffee Company is a family-owned and operated roastery, tea bar, and espresso bar located in the heart of Historic Downtown Dothan, Alabama. Mural City Coffee Co. was created with our community, local art and culture, and redeveloping downtown in mind. From the very beginning, we wanted to create a space where everyone feels welcome and has the opportunity to appreciate the finer things in life… like art, music, debate, friendship, scholarship, history, or just a fantastic cup of coffee or tea.
We began this journey with a passion for good coffee, a serious interest in tea, and a mutual desire to better our downtown. Almost two years (and a lot of elbow grease) later, our vision is finally coming to life. We cannot wait to open in the fall, and we hope that our space becomes a home away from home for everyone that stops in.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our first and only location will be housed in the heart of our redeveloping downtown. Mural City Coffee Co. is currently taking root in a 95-year-old, 15,000-sq-ft brick building with a long history of farm equipment and electronics. The cafe and roastery will be located on the first two floors of the three story building; the owners of the shop will reside on the third story.
After nearly two years of renovations and repairs, we have found paint-stained floors, dirty magazines from the 70s, checks written out for just a few dollars, and so much more.
One of our goals in renovating this space was preservation. We tried to reuse, recycle, and restore as many of the original qualities of the building as we could. We opened up a walk-in safe that was sealed shut due to water damage, and we plan to use that as our little community library. We also reused wooden shelving found on the third floor to create our bar-tops on the second floor, and we re-purposed an old door into a meeting table for customers to enjoy. The list goes on, but you’d just have to see it all for yourself!
One of the coolest (and arguably most useful) historical features of the building is a 17-foot freight-elevator located in the back. We have used this original, pulley-operated Otis elevator for everything from our coffee equipment and beans to our furniture for the shop (and sometimes just to take joy rides to the bathroom).
As for decor, we have so much funky, vintage furniture that we have found over the years through one of our other loves: thrift and antique shopping! We have quirky arm-chairs, lava tables, several comfy couches, and two working vintage fireplaces.
All in all, we are in awe of the craftsmanship and history behind our new home, and we hope to inspire other “normal” people to take a chance at restoring a historic building, or even simply doing what they love to better their community.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our approach is exploration without intimidation. We want our customers and baristas alike to feel comfortable trying new things whenever the opportunity presents itself. We hope to inspire an interactive approach to coffee and tea through our bar-style seating, in-house roasting, home brewing and roasting equipment for sale, regular classes, and informative marketing. We are all about bringing funky, modern twists to tried-and-true classics, from our drinks to our decor.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are roasting on our beloved Diedrich IR-12. Our espresso will be ground in a Nuova Simonelli Mythos One Clima Pro and pulled on a Simonelli Aurelia II espresso machine. We also have a Mahlkönig EK-43 for our other grinds, and a pretty sweet Kyoto Drip station that we custom built for the shop.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We would love to thank our community for their continuous support; our local artists and musicians for wanting to help us create an incredible, inspiring space; and our amazing architect and contractors for working tirelessly to help our family make this dream a reality.
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