"Coffee has been in my blood since I was four years old," Andrew Carter told me with clear enthusiasm. "I have pictures of me sipping coffee with my parents."
I sat down with Andrew to talk about his new coffee shop, Barista Alley, coming this September to downtown Greer.
"I knew growing up that I was going to own a restaurant. I stayed up late watching videos, taking notes at 3 am, working hard at designing my restaurant. After working in a restaurant, I decided that wasn't for me. But I loved coffee. I want the perfection of coffee. I want consistency."
Ideas are always evolving and developing. Ideas are kinetic. They combine. They reproduce.
Andrew had a very comfortable job. "I could buy almost anything I wanted," he said. He just quit that job four weeks ago. All of his focus, energy, and money is being channeled towards his dream of owning his own coffee shop.
Andrew is 21 years old.
Young and incredibly ambitious. Also- a certified barista.
When you walk into Barista Alley, you'll notice it has modern and rustic aesthetic. Complete with reclaimed hardwood, tables with metal finish, copper countertops. and an alleyway lit with Edison lights.
I dug deeper into Andrew's mind and tried to get a picture of what his dream is for his shop. His vision is incredibly vivid.
"I don't only want great coffee. When I was writing a business plan, my biggest thing I wanted was true interaction between human beings. I want to be engaged with my customers. I want there to be talk. I want engagement between my customers and I and from customer to customer. This is what I'm looking for in my atmosphere."
Close your eyes and imagine friends and family scattered throughout the store, sitting outside in the alley underneath the warm lights. Laughter and undistinguished chitter-chatter fill the atmosphere as meaningful relationships develop.
That's not to say this isn't a place for the businessman or for the student. There will be a private room with a mounted TV for business presentations, high speed internet, and quiet areas for studying and homework. I know that I will be there to work. I write in public better than I do from my home.
"I hope to have yoga in the mornings, possibly have trivia, and provide a health bar with smoothies and protein shakes."
"My brain is everywhere, I just ordered straws yesterday. So I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around everything. I'm so glad to have my floor plans drawn out. I couldn't have done that with out my architects John David & Barry Agnew. They own Adeptus Architecture."
Barista Alley's beans will be delivered from Thousand Faces down in Athens Georgia.
Grab your friends. Put your cellphone in your pocket. Go to Barista Alley and engage with others. True social engagement is becoming a lost art which Andrew is hoping to establish, and what better place to do that than a locally owned coffee shop.
If you're young, don't let that stop you. It hasn't stopped Andrew. He's devoted everything into following his business dreams. There's nothing holding him back now.