Concord Coffee opened its doors to the public on Monday, Sept. 23, and had its grand opening on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
This is not your average coffee shop. Located at 1380 W. University Ave, Concord Coffee aims to bring peace and harmony into people’s lives in a coffee shop setting.
Bailey McDonald is a second-year student at the University of Florida studying art and technology. He is one of the first employees for the new coffee shop.
According to McDonald, Concord Coffee aims to take the community aspect of a coffee shop to a different level.
“Concord is about harmony between people,” McDonald said. “That really just means that through the coffee we serve we hope that we can create a space that people can come and make conversation, meet people, and just form a community.”
According to McDonald, the shop has already seen a boom in business. In their first week open, he says that they are already beginning to form regular customers and have large rushes of people.
McDonald credits this success to the quality of Concord Coffee’s product.
“Concord is very coffee forward,” McDonald said. “They care a lot about the drink that they make all the way down to the farming, the processing and the roasting of the coffee. Concord roasts all of their own beans at their Lakeland location and they work very closely with the farmers where they get the green coffee beans to roast.
According to him, Concord pays international farmers premium prices for their products. This is one thing that sets Concord Coffee apart from companies such as Starbucks.
“All the way from farming to when the coffee reaches the cup we oversee it all and make sure that farmers are paid a premium price for their work, and that the coffee that’s served to your customers is the best that they can get,” McDonald said.
Nate Parodi, the store’s manager, says that Concord Coffee sets itself apart not only by fairness but also in quality. According to him, Concord is in a whole different category than the likes of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.
“It’s not what Concord differs to Starbucks, it’s this third-wave movement that we are a part of,” Parodi said. “That’s what makes it different. If you look up third wave on Google, if you look up any shop, there is something different that you sense when you walk into a specialty shop.”
Parodi defines third-wave coffee as specialty shops like Concord. Second-wave coffee is the Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee that has been heavily commercialized. First-wave coffee is the cheap coffee one can buy at Walmart.
Community is something that the entire company emphasizes as part of its mission. Both McDonald and Parodi mentioned building communities through a coffee shop setting.
“It’s not about money, it’s about people,” Parodi said. “We’re trying to connect people through coffee here. It’s not a brand, it’s more of a community.”
Concord Coffee is currently inside the current Gator Wesley Foundation building, where they share the space. Gator Wesley is a Christian campus ministry as part of the United Methodist Church.
Heather Pancoast is a co-director of Gator Wesley with her husband Joel. According to Pancoast, this collaboration between Gator Wesley and Concord Coffee had been years in the making.
“When we first arrived at Gator Wesley three years ago we began to pray about how we could use this space in such a way that it would be helpful to the student body and to the community outside of our Gator Wesley students,” Pancoast said.
According to her, the idea came to them when visiting another coffee shop in the area. Pancoast then reached out to her friend TJ Zimmerman, who is the owner of Concord Coffee, to see if bringing them to Gainesville was a possibility.
Altogether from start to finish, it took Concord Coffee two years to move into Gator Wesley with a year of planning and a year of construction.
Pancoast says that having Concord Coffee in the building has been beneficial to Gator Wesley. According to her, several Concord Coffee customers have inquired about the Wesley Foundation and even joined their Gator Wesley Students’ Facebook page.
According to Parodi, Concord is doing several events with Gator Wesley for homecoming week.