There’s cute and then there’s cah-yute, and today’s entry into the Build-Outs of Summer falls squarely into the latter. Sightsee is a retail space and coffee shop in Charleston, South Carolina that’s got breeze and whimsy for days.
Adorned primarily in seafoam green and white, Sightsee is fun and playful, and that’s what owners Joel Sadler and Allyson Sutton want. Their hope is that the adventurous feel will get customers exploring the shop, where they can stumble upon any of the curated wares Sadler and Sutton have selected. So head to Sightsee to grab a coffee, just don’t be surprised if you head home with a field guide or a print.
As told to Sprudge by Joel Sadler & Allyson Sutton.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Sightsee is a retail shop + coffee bar that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Founded by Joel Sadler and Allyson Sutton, Sightsee aims to inspire a sense of adventure in everyday life. By blending the energy and community of a cafe with the joy of product discovery, Sightsee introduces you to new finds in a way that breaks traditional retail categorization. Grab a cup of coffee, strike up a conversation, and learn how the brands we carry can bring a bit of adventure to your day-to-day.
Our Kickstarter video really communicates the whole concept fairly well, we think.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
We’ve been doing popups for nearly a year now in friends’ shops and creative spaces around Charleston. We had all but given up hope on finding affordable space downtown when Allyson discovered 125 1/2 Line St on a commercial listing page. We jumped on it immediately even though we weren’t sure how we were going to afford it and were getting married in a couple months (May 11). Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 46)
What’s your approach to coffee?
We actually wrote a “manifesto” of sort on that topic several months back.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are super excited about our custom La Marzocco GS3 with a white body and wood panels. We had some constraints on the use of space that required the espresso machine to be the first thing you see when you walk in. We needed it to help set the tone for the entire shop. We also custom painted our FETCO batch brewer white ourselves to match our other equipment. We want the coffee component of our concept shop to blend seamlessly into the overall experience. Having a giant stainless steel box on the counter really does the opposite.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We are using 100% compostable cups, lids, straws, and paper and are working with CompostNow to make sure our program stays in line. We’re even running our espresso machine drain into a bucket that we will empty directly into our plant beds outside.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We have had friends, family, and Kickstarter backers in for a soft opening to get our feet under us. As of today, though, we have just gotten our CO and can officially open this Friday, 9/13!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Our GC Charlie Letts has been incredible as well as Chevis Luckett who built the counter. Our friend and architect Ross Ritchie worked a miracle translating our sketches into a coffee counter diagram that a contractor could actually build. Beyond that we really would have to thank the entire Charleston community for helping us in all sorts of creative ways.
The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.