Two young entrepreneurs will be putting a cosmopolitan spin on coffee with the opening of a new coffee house slated to open in late April that will feature signature blends from across Central and South America.
Central Cup Coffee House, to be located in the historic Rose Manor, 517 N. Eighth St., is the brainchild of 23-year-old Laura Guevara, who will be opening the café with her sister, Melvi Ojeda.
Guevara, whose family is from El Salvador, said Central Cup Coffee’s name was coined by her younger brother in recognition of their Central American roots. The shop will offer signature blends that originated in El Salvador, Cuba, Mexico and Argentina, just to name a few.
Born and raised in Garden City, Guevara said she thought of the idea while working at Target. She said she would see members of the Hispanic community hesitate when ordering their coffee at Starbucks because they weren’t sure how to go about it — not surprising when one considers the alternative menu designations for different sizes such as “short,” “tall,” “grande” and “venti.”
Garden City’s population is 48.6 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and in honor of that growing population Guevara and Ojeda decided to create a business that would bring more familiarity to some and a different spin on a cup of joe to others.
“I decided there should always be a coffee shop where everyone can just go and feel comfortable ordering, no fancy names or anything,” Guevara said, adding that she has been a java enthusiast since drinking the stuff with her morning bread before heading off to kindergarten as a young girl.
Guevara described Hispanic coffee blends as “stronger” with a “bigger, bolder” taste. She used a latte as an example of a difference in approach, explaining that typical American lattes use about 80 percent milk to buffer the espresso. She said many Central and South American blends focus more on the coffee than the milk when it comes to quantity.
Though this is Guevara’s first business, she’ll have good support in her sister, Ojeda, who helps her father manage Tienda Santa Rosa, 519 W. Mary St., a Hispanic grocery and bakery.
“I’m the business person,” said Ojeda, 28, who is finishing up a bachelor’s degree in business administration through Colorado Christian University. She said she spends most of her time at Santa Rosa, where she bakes pastries that will eventually be offered at Central Cup.
“We’re Central American. We’re from El Salvador. So we’ll be specializing in a lot of those American pastries that we don’t really see around here,” Ojeda said.
Ojeda said the diverse customer base at Santa Rosa, which includes Haitians, Cubans, Hondurans and South Americans, is a community she hopes to bring to Central Cup.
Though the sisters are still going over the menu, Ojeda said there are plans to switch house brews on a monthly basis and introduce beverages such as yerba mate, which is a drink similar to coffee or tea that is made from the South American holly tree.
Myca Bunch, executive director of Downtown Vision, said Central Cup Coffee House fits perfectly with the cultural emphasis on development plans for downtown.
“I think it’s a perfect fit for the community,” Bunch said. “What better speaks to the community than the diversity and the unique choices that we have when it comes to food and coffee shops?”
Central Cup will be located about two blocks north of Patrick Dugan’s Coffee House on Main Street, and Bunch said she thinks a little healthy competition will be good for the businesses.
The Downtown Master Plan crafted in 2013 stipulates that the Eighth Street area redevelopment include culturally diverse establishments that showcase what Garden City has to offer. Bunch said she wants the area to resemble a China Town of sorts with entryway gates and a fountain.
The Rose Manor was just one recipient of the downtown development fund, a city-created pool of money designed to help downtown building owners make improvements. According to Bunch, it’s one of the greatest success stories that emerged from that effort.
“If you take a picture and you look at that building, what it was six months ago to what it is today, and it’s not even finished yet — it’s remarkable,” Bunch said.
Bunch said developments listed in the Downtown Master Plan will be added to this year’s capital improvement plan (CIP), and targeted CIP projects are slated for Eighth Street’s continued development.
Ojeda said she and Guevara are excited to start their journey, especially given the great feedback they are already getting from the community.
“We kind of kept it under wraps for awhile, and we’re just really excited about how everyone else in the community is also excited about it,” Ojeda said. “We’re all about embracing diversity, which is why we love Garden City, and we’re so proud of growing up here. One of our key things is we want to have a coffee shop that is welcoming to everybody.”
Mark Minton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.