Campaign raising funds for ‘authentic coffee experience’ in BGWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
When newlyweds Ben and Cassy Vollmar first met in 2010, they talked about coffee.
Ben, dreaming of one day own his owning coffee shop, and Cassy, wanting to open a cart selling flowers and coffee, realized they had similar dreams right away.
“That was fun; right off the bat we started talking about coffee,” Cassy said.
Today, the two are making their dreams reality. The couple plans to open Flatlands Coffee this spring at 138 N. Main St. in Bowling Green, next to Ink Mafia Body Art Studio. A Kickstarter campaign for their collaborative effort went live on Nov. 2. They hope to raise $60,000 by Dec. 2.
Together, the two want to make what they called “an authentic coffee experience.”
“[Our vision is] just to create a welcoming, creative-inducing atmosphere where customers can really enjoy the uppermost quality in terms of service and product,” Ben said. “Our mission is to bring the best in the country to Bowling Green, Ohio.”
The two have done research by touring the country and visiting top-rated coffee shops in an attempt to learn as much as they can. Ben became most passionate after visiting Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea in Chicago.
“You can taste the difference, smell the difference and see the difference in the whole atmosphere,” he said. “Every little detail spoke quality and you could easily experience that for yourself and make the same judgment. It was really obvious.”
With Flatlands, Ben will assume responsibility for the coffee and Cassy, the atmosphere.
“We’ve been able to see what others are doing, which can spark further ideas,” Ben said.
The coffee shop will offer many different brewing methods, including: a siphon pot (Ben’s favorite), pour-overs and an espresso machine. Flatlands will serve roasts by Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Actual Coffee, Counter Culture Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, La Colombe Coffee and Populace Coffee.
“We’re always trying to perfect, tweak and make the coffee taste to its best capability,” Ben said. “That’s where service really comes in and is really important. We don’t want to be overwhelming but we want to be, at the same time, empowering customers to make knowledgeable, educated decisions as a consumer.”
Ben decided he wanted to open a coffee shop six years ago. It began as a project for one of his college courses where he was to write a business plan.
“The school project really got the ball rolling,” he said.
Ben’s first idea was to open a venue that would be half coffee shop, half laundromat. With research, Ben quickly realized it wouldn’t work. His business plan for Flatlands Coffee has been tweaked many times since. Working at The Flying Joe in Perrysburg ignited his passion even more.
Ben, born and raised in Bowling Green, always wanted to open his shop in his hometown.
“It’s got a great community but it’s limited in creative spaces,” he said. “All of the [Starbucks] locations here are so small and a lot of times you go in there and you won’t find seating … In addition to that, we have community spaces, but it’s for alcohol. We have a lot of bars. It’d be nice to add variety to that.”
The two are putting a lot of planning into the store-front as well. Ben said it will look “radically different” from other stores Downtown.
“We’re completely redoing the whole thing,” he said. “We’re bringing in some new ideas that we’ve only seen in Chicago and Seattle that Bowling Green has not experienced yet.”
They plan to market their shop to students at Bowling Green State University.
“We have the advantage that we’ve been students,” Ben said.
Anyone can make a pledge at www.kickstarter.com/projects/960621923/flatlands-coffee-an-authentic-coffee-experience. The money would go toward the space, supplies, inventory, marketing, training and more.
Pledgers of different magnitudes will receive incentives, ranging from a hand-written thank you note, T-shirts, bags of coffee, hand-crafted ceramic mugs, a table named after them when the shop opens and more.
Tags: Actual Coffee, Ben and Cassy Vollmar, Bowling Green, Bowling Green State University, Chicago, Counter Culture Coffee, Flatlands Coffee, Ink Mafia Body Art Studio, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Kickstarter, La Colombe Coffee, Perrysburg, Populace Coffee, Starbucks, The Flying Joe, Zingerman's Coffe Company