By Eileen Weber
If you loved the concept of the friendly, neighborhood coffee spot, you had two places to go: Las Vetas in the center of town or Port Coffeehouse on Fairfield Avenue. Unfortunately, Port and its sister restaurant, Dish, closed their doors shortly before Thanksgiving this past year. But, don’t worry. If you need that jolt of caffeine, Source Coffeehouse is here to the rescue.
Launched on January 18th, owners Courtney and Matthew Hartl opened their fair trade coffee house in the former Dish space—much to the relief of nearby residents. Courtney made a note of the fact that many of the customers who came in for a quick cup of java said they missed having a local place to hit on the way to work.
The Hartls live in Norwalk and have a connection with Port and Dish rental owners, Tara Collins of Black Rock Physical Therapy and Laura Pennock of Black Rock Pilates. Both of them occupy space above Source in the same building on Fairfield Avenue. The previous owners of Port and Dish had a pretty regular crowd. But they just felt it was time to move on and do something different.
“This was the perfect opportunity,” said Courtney. “We felt like the doors just kept flying open.”
Courtney said that everything just sort of fell in to place. She and her husband were looking for the right opportunity to open a coffee shop. (They have both been baristas and Courtney submitted her college thesis on ethical trade in the coffee industry, even visiting the coffee bean hotbed of Costa Rica.) When Tara and Laura told them about the open space, they jumped at the chance.
But there was one tiny obstacle: money. They didn’t have any start-up capital. So, they did what any 20-something with very little liquid equity would do. They started a crowdfund campaign.
Crowdfunding, often used as an online tool for everything from disaster relief to political campaigns, is fundraising via community donation. In this case, the Hartls crowdfunded for startup cash. Their goal was a mere $12,000. Within a matter of weeks, they managed to get a little over that amount.
“Crowdfunding appeals to me ad I understand that concept in fundraising,” said Courtney. “It brings the community together and it’s about relationship building.”
They’ve continued to build their neighborhood relationships picking up where Port left off. Courtney smiled slyly when she said that a few of her customers have already filled their 10-cup card. At the time of our meeting, they had only been open eleven days.
Source, based on the concept of knowing where your coffee is sourced from, gets their beans from Crop to Cup in Brooklyn. Crop to Cup is a fair trade importer and roaster. Source gets most of their beans from East Africa simply because they like the taste. (Courtney will gladly tell you she likes the taste of blueberries in her coffee—hence the heavy pour on East African blends.)
They also have decaf for the caffeine sensitive as well as organic teas from Rishi. All of their dairy products come from Connecticut’s Farmer’s Cow. They are currently in discussions with local roaster Ed Freedman of Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters in Trumbull.
So the next time you find yourself desperate for a pick-me-up and a little conversation, you might want to swing by Source. They are located at 2889 Fairfield Avenue in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. You can find them on Facebook or call them at 203-522-5662.