Eric Brew, a St. Paul resident, has long thought about creating an arts hub where writers, painters, thespians, and others could hang out and feed off of each other.
The timing seemed right, so he recently set in motion an online kickstarter fund
which anyone can contribute, to make it a reality.
He's eying a 4,000-square-foot space in Northeast Minneapolis, the previous home of City Salvage
, which moved next door, for a combination coffee shop, bookstore, and creative outlet he's calling Brew's Coffee & Books
To make it a go, Brew needs to raise $32,000 in start-up expenses, including the first month's rent and deposit, business licenses, permits, coffee bar, bookshelves, and plumbing.
So far, the project has received $1,575 in startup funds, according to its website. The deadline for raising the money is May 4.
Brew, who was inspired by the famous Shakespeare and Company Bookshop
in Paris, wants to provide a similar feel, with a book-filled partition and plenty of nooks and crannies. "It's the complete opposite of what's there now," he says. "It has an empty floor plan."
The vacant space has hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, and a stage. Brew is looking to incorporate writing studios and a lending library, along with books for sale on consignment and dramatic performances.
He envisions a place where people can teach or attend classes, perform, and participate in discussion groups and more. "The biggest thing is having an open space available to all kinds of artists, not specifically writers or actors, but everyone."
Brew's will emphasize sustainable practices: "We promise to be as green as we can be in two environmentally taxing industries, coffee and publishing," its website states.
For starters, the café will serve specialty coffees that come from a local roaster who supports "direct trade" coffee beans that come straight from farmers through an area importer, while sustainable practices will be constantly refined, according to its website. Food will also come from local sources.
The cafe will try to use as many secondhand items as possible, Brew says. To get the concept beyond the idea stage, he's working with a couple of collaborators while also networking with artists. He hopes to open the cafe in June.
Source: Eric Brew, originator of Brew's Coffee & Books
Writer: Anna Pratt