Like many days last week, Jacqueline Martin was working late into the evening because her coffee shop was about to open and the last-minute tasks were unending.
It’s understandable since Jacqueline is unveiling a system with milk on-tap, the state’s first. She’s got tables to finish. Boxes to unpack. Painting. Training. Baked goods. Oh yeah, and finding one of those big “Open” flags for the front entrance. Can’t forget that.
Yet the chaos didn’t stop her from staying true to her vision, the reason she is opening the coffee shop in the first place.
You see that evening, as Jacqueline toiled away, a 12-year-old runaway girl stopped into the still-under-construction coffee shop around 9 p.m., asking for food, water, and directions to her grandmother’s house. Jacqueline stopped what she was doing and talked for nearly two hours before eventually driving the girl to her grandmother’s home.
Before it was even officially open, 205 Coffee Bar had become a safe place, a place to call home, even if you enter alone.
In other words, mission accomplished.
“She just needs to be known and heard,” Jacqueline said during a sunny Friday afternoon at the coffee shop, located at 205 E. Columbia Ave. in downtown Holland. “That’s what it’s all about, even in the midst of the stress…”
“We want them to know everyone’s names,” Jacqueline said, noting they are still looking for a few awesome people to join the team.
Her husband, co-owner Darryl Martin, works out of coffee shops in the Chicago area for his other business. A Detroit Tigers draft pick in 1986, Martin also has helped pull kids out of gangs for years through his nonprofit work. So a coffee shop, with a goal of creating deep connections, a family of sorts, is the perfect collision of his two worlds.
“Coffee is just a vehicle,” Jacqueline said. “This is just what we happen to do.”
Right space, right time
Well, if coffee is their vehicle, then sticking with the car theme, 205 Coffee Bar can be compared to a shiny new Cadillac – the kind that turns heads on the street.
For starters, there is a stunning mural on the outside wall of the shop, painted by local artist Chris Garcia.
Walking inside, the walls are a calming light blue, there are no fluorescent lights, just well-decorated light bulbs everywhere. Powdered metal floors, rusted out for artistic effect. Beautiful steel counters with an acid wash, created by Brian Neuman.
And plenty of custom woodworking – the bar, floating shelves, tables.
The build out was coordinated and executed by Dale Smith, a contractor Jacqueline knew from her 11 years in the food service department at Hope College.
“He heard what my vision was,” Jacqueline said. “He’s a strong Christian man and he wanted to be involved and a part of it.”
The building has a rich history of mixed uses – anything from an arcade to a shooting range, she said. Most recently it was Uptown Gallery and Frame Shop, before it went on the market in May 2016.
“The building popped up for sale and I jumped on it,” she said. “And here we are.”
Now, before we go, let’s not forget the coffee.
205 Coffee Bar will exclusively carry Stovetop Coffee Roasters, which began in Holland before moving to Ann Arbor, and is yet another success story from the Hope College entrepreneurship program. Steve Holm, co-founder of Stovetop, was at the coffee shop Sunday afternoon, testing out the brews and working with staff.
There’s a nitro and cold brew on-tap at one station, right near the entrance. A few feet away down the counter, on-tap root beer, lemonade, two kombuchas, iced tea, and sparkling cascara, which is the dried skins of coffee cherries turned into a sweeter, pink tea.
Then a latte station in the middle of 205 Coffee Bar will feature an espresso machine with most of the equipment under the counter, removing the common barrier between a barista and the customer, Jacqueline said.
She hopes the unique look will make the experience more interactive, enabling people to enjoy watching the latte art.
Finally, a slow-bar station closer to the back will offer premium coffee brewed using the pour-over method.
Add paninis, salads, stroopwafels (a waffle made from two layers of thin dough with a caramel-like syrup inside), plus bakery items from Kind Crumbs LLC, deBoer Bakkerij, The Oven Mitt, and no one should leave thirsty or hungry.
But, most of all, no one should leave lonely. They should want to come back again and again.
“‘I feel better when I am here,'” Jacqueline said she wants customers to say.