All rights folks. I’ve kept quiet as long as I can. I’ve been hearing about McQuixote Books and Coffee for a while. I didn’t want to jinx it by covering it too early, so I kept my trap shut.
It’s been tough, as they have chronicled most of their process on Facebook. I’ve wanted to shout it from the rooftops every time they finish a project. (They picked out wood and built their main counter last week!)
I love coffee, and I love books, so this kinda thing is pretty exciting to me.
Now the fine folks who are putting fine coffee and books in the Portland neighborhood are running a Kickstarter to help make the dream of artisanal joe in the growing urban renewal zone a reality.
So it’s time you knew what’s up.
McQuixote is an in-progress shop, located in the new Tim Faulkner Gallery, hoping to open in mid to late May.
Its three co-owners, Mickey Ball, Jeff Wessel and Trevor DeCuir, invited me down to see how it’s going. We talked about the origins of their co-venture, what they are offering, and how they plan to operate.
Full disclosure: Trevor DeCuir is the man primarily responsible for teaching me how to make a fine latte, so while my knowledge of his expertise is first-hand, it is also possible slightly biased.
McQuixote started it’s life as an online store run by Mickey Ball, who was living in Eureka, California. The website proclaims it “specializes in fiction with many first editions and hard-to-find hard covers.” Business was good. About “nine months in I got the idea to open a brick and mortar store, called Jeff, wanted to run it by him,” says Ball.
He shared his idea with Jeff Wessel, who was living in Ohio at the time: “He was into it.”
Ball had worked with Trevor DeCuir, a Louisville barista and drink trainer for Heine Brothers’ Coffee. “We thought adding the coffee element would be a really good idea. Trevor was the first person I thought of. He said yes, of course,” says Ball.
Even though Ball was on the left coast and Wessel was in Ohio, the trio felt Louisville would be a good home for the brick and mortar endeavor. “Though there are a lot of coffee shops, there aren’t a lot of used book stores,” says Ball.
His modus operandi for procuring a great selection involves sifting through a lot of dross before he strikes gold. Ball pours over the book selections at thrift stores, library sales, estate sales and more to find the high quality items McQuixote offers. Louisville’s proximity to cities like Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Nashville makes it easier to take day trips to hunt for great finds.
The McQuixote trio worked on developing a business plan, turning to the Small Business Development Center while they scouted locations. They considered a spot in Germantown, as well as taking a long hard look at the cluster of businesses on Barret Avenue.
But something pretty cool is happening down Portland way. When Tim Faulkner announced he was closing his Butchertown gallery and opening a new place in Portland, I know I didn’t really grasp the scope of what that move would look like.
The smart guys at McQuixote got it immediately, and chose it as the location for their new venture.
“The city is investing in Portland, and this is the first centerpiece,” says Wessel, speaking of the new Faulkner Gallery.
I got a quick tour of McQuixote after our interview, and I couldn’t help being very excited about this entire space.
The main gallery is gorgeous and atmospheric, and there are small studios for artists to work in, including some of my local favorites. What really blew me away is the serious work and renovation being done to create a performance venue that can accommodate up to 2,500 people.
Of course all those artists and patrons are going to need some coffee.
About that coffee. DeCuir has worked closely with the roasters at Argo Sons to create a signature blend called Southern Exposition.
You may recall I’m a huge fan of pretty much any coffee the Argo Sons have a hand in producing. Head roaster James Tooill is a Louisville treasure. Southern Exposition is no exception. I tasted several versions of the coffee while Tooill and DeCuir zeroed in on the perfect flavor profile.
You can taste the coffee too before the brick and mortar opens its doors. Southern Exposition is sold at Rainbow Blossom and the Louisville Local Store. McQuixote will be at The Mighty Kindness Earth Day Hootenanny this weekend, selling bags of coffee, books and offering free samples.
In the meantime, check out the Kickstarter video the McQuixote crew have posted. They have some nice incentives lined up for contributors. The $10 level comes with two drinks, and a thank you card. At current prices, thats essentially just buying the two drinks a couple of months in advance.
Seems like a small price to pay to be a part of an exciting new chapter in Louisville’s epic coffee history. You can also get updates from the McQuixote Facebook page, and watch the store grow.