A big Crimson Cup welcome to St. Stephen’s Café! The shop at 2 West Main St. in Brocton, New York is one of over a dozen new independent coffee shops expected to open in 2019 through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop franchise alternative program. Owned and operated by Breathe Life of WNY, Inc., the café held its grand opening May 08.
“We’re pleased to welcome Managing Directors Stewart & Tammy Thompson to the Crimson Cup community,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “Helping non-profit organizations like Breathe Life of WNY open unique independent coffee shops is an important part of our mission as an award-winning coffee roaster and coffee shop franchise alternative.”
The Thompsons applied a diverse body of work experience to their goal of opening a coffee shop. Stewart has been a pastor since 1991. Much of his career has focused on working with lives in crisis due to divorce, addiction, depression and anxiety. Tammy has worked for large corporations, small businesses and non-profit, church and ministry roles. She used her experience in property and operations management to open St. Stephen’s Café.
The couple felt a community gathering place was essential to their mission at Breathe Life of WNY.
“Having a coffee shop was a perfect answer to bringing a fun place that was open to all ages to town,” Tammy said. “We’re striving to offer hope in love, hope in community, hope in economics and hope that this little town is important to someone.”
The Thompsons learned how to open a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop franchise alternative program. Based on Greg’s book, Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry, Crimson Cup’s 7 Steps program has helped hundreds of independent coffee shops in 37 states open and stay and business.
They knew from the start that Crimson Cup would be their coffee supplier. “A friend of mine started with Crimson Cup,” Tammy said. “I loved her coffee and made her establishment like my second office.
“When I knew that we would be coming to New York to open a coffee shop, I knew exactly what coffee I wanted,” she added. “What we received was so much more. The help on design, purchases and guidance along the way has helped us become successful.”
She said she found the book’s template for a coffee shop business plan most helpful. “The business plan helped us articulate to a community who were skeptical, donors who were unsure and personal financiers that we were legit. It’s entirely different trying to formulate the words on your own versus having help with terminology and presentation. Crimson Cup helped us knock that out of the park!”
The Thompsons chose a historic building built in 1865 to house their café. “It originally operated as The American Hotel, but was later renamed the St. Stephen’s,” Tammy said. “It traditionally ran as a bar/restaurant. Our inspiration was to convert it to a coffee shop so that all ages could enjoy a community environment.
“We continued with the name of the St. Stephen to encourage the location to ‘live up to its name,’ which in the Christian faith was the first martyr of the faith,” she added. “He was social minded, full of the Holy Spirit and cared for the needs of widows, women and children.”
St. Stephen’s serves a full menu of hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks – including mochas, lattes and cappuccinos – as well as iced coffee and tea, cold-brewed coffee, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and other custom drinks. An assortment of fresh baked goods rounds out the menu.
Tammy Thompson said local java lovers love the coffee, which is roasted by Crimson Cup. “They’ll say, ‘Man, this is good coffee!’ Some are still learning that with a good coffee you don’t need all that other ‘stuff’ to wash out the flavor of the bean. We are certainly helping them see that there is more than just a cheap latte.”
Crimson Cup coffee has been judged among the best in the nation. We were named 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year by Roast magazine, the flagship publication of the specialty coffee industry. Our Ethiopian Kossa Kebena coffee won a 2017 Good Food Award and was a finalist for a 2019 Good Food Award. Crimson Cup coffees have also brought home trophies and medals from the America’s Best Espresso competition and Golden Bean North America roasting competitions.