Coffee Shop Success Story: The Rex Café Opens in Pensacola, FloridaOctober 30, 2023 (Published: August 27, 2022)
A big Crimson Cup welcome to The Rex Café! From sip to soul, this quaint new coffee shop is nourishing the heart of downtown Pensacola.
Inspired by old Hollywood movies and the cafes of Europe, The Rex Café provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for sipping classic espresso beverages inside a restored Pensacola theater.
The new café operates as an extension of Generation Church, which purchased the historic Rex Theater at 18 North Palafox Street and restored its 1930s Art Deco design.
“By providing simple and quality beverages, our mission is to create a space for the community to develop relationships, make connections and enrich your soul,” said Associate Pastor and Café Manager Lois Renaud.
Originally built in 1910 as a furniture store, The Rex Theater entertained Pensacola audiences from the 1930s to the 1980s. Generation Church renovated the theater in 2012 to include a large main theater, a second-floor meeting space, and a third floor with classrooms and church offices.
A decade later, they were ready to add a café in the first-floor lobby of the main theater.
Pastor Renaud said the inspiration for The Rex Café arose from the church’s desire to be a more intricate part of the community.
“We didn’t want just to be a church only open on Sundays, but a part of people’s everyday lives,” he said. “What better way than a coffee shop?”
Learning to Open a Coffee Shop
To learn how to open a coffee shop in Florida, he and Assistant Manager Annie Gray turned to Crimson Cup and our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program.
We’ve helped start and grow over 300 independent coffee shops in 30 states through the 7 Steps.
“We were looking for a coffee partner that could help us develop a café that does justice to the unique beauty and iconic history of The Rex Theater,” Pastor Renaud said.
“A coffee franchise would not have allowed us the flexibility we needed.”
As Generation Church was searching for a coffee partner, a Honduras coffee professional who worked with the church on missions encouraged Pastor Renaud to contact Crimson Cup.
For over a decade, we’ve worked with Honduran coffee farmers through our unique Friend2Farmer initiatives.
“In Honduras and around the world, Crimson Cup looks not just for partners, but for lifelong friends,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “Our Friend2Farmer program goes far beyond Fair Trade. We help provide a better quality of life for the farmers, their families and their communities. It’s all part of our Focus on Good.”
Coffee Shop Startup Consultants Help Develop The Rex Café
Once the connection was made, our coffee shop startup consultants guided Generation Church in everything from determining coffee shop startup costs to writing a coffee shop business plan to laying out the café, developing a menu, choosing equipment, training staff and more.
“The Rex Café has a fabulous partnership with Crimson Cup,” said Pastor Renaud. “From our cafe’s inception until today, they guided us through the entire process.”
“They provide everything we need for a successful coffee shop, from equipment support to products. We love using their coffee and other products for our beverages and look forward to growing our relationship.”
Of the 7 Steps, Pastor Renaud found Step Six: Focus on Customer Service, the most valuable. “Without creating a friendly and welcoming environment, we wouldn’t be able to make the connections and relationships that bring people back to the café,” he said. “Make sure you put people first, whether employees or customers.”
The coffee has won rave reviews from local coffee lovers.
“As someone who treasures the privilege of having a cup of coffee, I can be quite picky,” wrote one Google reviewer. “The Rex Cafe offers an experience surpassed by none in my all of my travels, centered around great coffee and espresso.”