Bloom Coffee Roasters in Lansing’s Old Town commercial district will close its café indefinitely next week. Owner/operator Jared Field will shift his focus back to roasting coffee beans full time at that location.
In June 2016, Jared Field transformed his Old Town coffee bean roasting operation, Bloom Coffee Roasters, into a sit-down café. As part of the third wave coffee trend, customers patiently waited minutes on end for their slowpours or French presses, but on Christmas Eve, Field and his crew will hang up their aprons for good.
Well, maybe. Last week, Field posted a heartfelt letter on his website citing a blend of unmet expectations (his, not his customers) and impending fatherhood as reasons for the closure. In a City Pulse exclusive, Field took some time to wax philosophical on the nature of good service and creating a quality product, expanding on his decision to close, and what the chances are that Bloom may someday bloom again.
Why the decision to close? Essentially, we're going through an identity crisis amidst a potentially saturated café market in a "destination" sub-district of Lansing. We've always known who we want to be, as Bloom Coffee Roasters. But we aren't on that path, and haven't been since the day we opened the café. We can have a greater impact on this community if we're focused solely on one part of the business. Since you can't have a café without roasted coffee beans, it was a no-brainer.
So what path do you want to be on? When we opened the cafe in June of 2016, we had less than $200. That being said, in the months prior, we knew we were running low on money and that the money wouldn't buy us time to complete the space the way I had envisioned it. It caused us a lot of efficiency issues and spatial practicality has been pretty nonexistent. I personally feel like I'm constantly putting out fires as a result and not focusing on educating our staff or developing my own coffee education. Trying to do it all has stretched me rather thin.
How are the employees handling it? My team, the BCR family, feels the same way. They are just as worn out as I am. So we want to take some time to catch our breath and put the right things in place so that we can all personally grow.
Will Bloom continue as a roastery? Yes, we will still be roasting. Roasting is our foundation and one of the reasons we're doing this with the café is to focus on the roasting and wholesale end of our business so that the potentially reopened café will have a shot at being the best around.
What do you think the chances are of reopening? We're putting the right plans together to make that happen. I say it’s 50/50. We're focused on regaining a semblance of intention toward our craft. If we don't meet that, we won’t reopen. The space should exemplify that level of focus and intention, so if we can't come to a solution regarding our spatial needs, we won’t open. But we promise we're working hard to find solutions.
Golden (late) hours Meanwhile, just up the street from Bloom, Golden Harvest started offering Friday dinner hours last week. So if you’ve ever lusted after blueberry custard French toast but can’t get to the buzzy brunch spot during the day, or you want to fuel up before heading out to the bar with the monster Mother Trucker plate, loaded with potatoes, bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy (not pictured: cardiologist warning), now you can.
Last week’s first-time experiment was a success, with nighttime lines rivaling daytime ones, and this weekend is expected to be similarly busy. Initially the plan was only to stay open until 8 p.m., but the onslaught of hunger kept the stools swiveling until 9 p.m. But snow is also in the forecast, so dress warmly if you head over this week — the only way you get to wait inside is if fireballs are raining down from the sky. Seriously, it’s written right there on the door.
Healing moves Last month, Lena Maxson moved her 6-yearold healing center, Center of the Healing Arts, to a new location in Old Town. For the last year she was situated in a building behind the glass art boutique/workshop of her partner, Craig Mitchell Smith, on Grand River Avenue. The move gives her a more prominent, walkable location along Washington Avenue in the former HQ for the Michigan Association of Counties, and it also allowed her to add some new staff.
“I called in people who like to work with me and who have new ideas,” Maxson said. “This new building will allow us to do more classes and workshops. I also want to work with artists who can present their paintings on my walls.”
Maxson specializes in “intuitive healing,” which includes a full line of holistic healing modalities to improve her clients' overall wellbeing and good health. Maxson’s objective is to understand her clients’ problems, both physically and emotionally, and help release the energetic causes of both types of discomfort.
Services include energy-based massages, pranic healing, reiki, and reflexology, with new additions including a medical sauna and medical ionic foot bath. Unlike her previous space, the new location is also ADA-compliant, enabling customers with wheelchairs to be able to visit.
“And I also would like to work with children,” Maxson said. “I want to include them with actives like storytelling, meditation and brain yoga.”
Er, brain yoga?
“Yes, I’m certified in that,” Maxson said. “It’s wonderful. It changes lives. Kids are more centered after they do it and they get better grades in school.”
Allan I. Ross is a weekly contributor to the Lansing City Pulse. If you know of any new businesses in town, contact him at allan@ lansingcitypulse.com.