James and Miracle Yoder thought about opening a Not Just Coffee in Packard Place a few years ago, but the timing wasn’t right and they thought it was too close to their 7th Street Market location. They opened at Atherton Mill instead — probably the right choice at the time.
But when they decided to start looking a third location about a year and a half ago, they remembered Packard Place.
Not Just Coffee’s third location is set to have a soft opening later this week on the ground floor of HQ Charlotte at Packard Place on Church Street in uptown. (Sorry — couldn’t get a more specific opening date. Watch those social media feeds.) A grand opening party is scheduled for June 25.
“Definitely being in a building with creative startups and entrepreneurs, and then seeing all the development in this part of town, it’s exciting,” James said.
This location is the first standalone Not Just Coffee, and the first one that will serve food. It’s also the only location you can easily see from the street, with big windows and logos and a bar that faces Church Street.
I stopped by the new location last week to get a feel for the space and what makes it different from the other two shops.
When they first looked at the location, Romare Bearden Park wasn’t even finished. Now it’s there along with BB&T Ballpark, several high-rise apartments and new developments popping up all over Third Ward.
Not Just Coffee’s other two locations are inside of markets (Atherton Mill and 7th Street Public Market). This 800-square-foot location will be the company’s first standalone store, which brought with it a whole new set of challenges — plumbing, electrical, inspections, etc. — but also allowed James, 35, and Miracle, 41, to design the space however they wanted.
The two worked with builder Zack Kessell (Konti Construction) and architect/designer/builder Hank Schellenger (Flux Design) to create a space that’s “clean and Scandanavian,” according to James.
The room is stark white with warm wood furniture and accents. A quote from late urban writer/activist Jane Jacobs, which James said “fits the philosophy of the business,” is painted on one wall.
“We really wanted to pay attention to all of the details,” he said. “Everything has been built from scratch. … Everything in here is completely custom. …
“We wanted to create a space that was a cafe but also really kind of provocative. … We knew we wanted a quote on the wall but I didn’t want a quote just about coffee, you know?”
This will be the first Not Just Coffee location to serve food alongside its selection of espresso, coffee and tea. The small menu is centered around toast, with options like Fig & Goat Cheese Toast, Avocado Toast and Toast with Jam, Butter or Big Spoon Peanut Butter.
“We’d wanted to do food for a long time, but we finally have space,” James said. “We went with toast because it’s simple and we can be pretty creative with it. … We visited some shops out in L.A. and New York and they were doing similar menus, so we wanted to bring something other shops weren’t doing in town.”
To start, James said the location will be open six days a week, closed Sunday, and will stay open until 7 or 8 p.m. weeknights and more like 9 p.m. Friday. (James said they would eventually like to also serve a limited selection of wine and beer.)
They also hope to have a limited amount of outdoor seating, to take advantage of that street-front location.
“I think it’s huge to have that street-front presence,” James said. “That’s part of the idea to have the window bars and stuff here, too. I think it’s cool to have that engagement with the sidewalk. …
“I just love the idea of walking off a sidewalk into a business.”
Photos: Jonathan Taylor; Junior Hernandez