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On the ground floor of a pole barn style structure is Lansing’s latest hangout for all things caffeine. opened up Dec. 17 below the Ministry Ink tattoo parlor on the west side. Both businesses are owned by Adam Crane.
“My wife worked in coffee in Germany, so I thought ‘you know what, why not coffee?’ It’s great for networking,” Crane said.
Inside, the Brew Café sports recycled industrial spools for tables, barn wood saddling each wall and industrial pulley lamps.
“The barn theme came from the trusses holding up the room,” Crane said.
It was fate for the café to be barn wood, he added.
“My buddy called me up and said ‘hey man, I have a barn that fell over. Come and get the wood because it’s free,’” Crane said. “Then my father-in-law called me and said ‘my aunt’s barn fell over, do you want some wood?’ I had all this barn wood ready to go. I just had to go get it.”
Though the material cost was free, Crane did most of the labor. He didn’t even take out a small business loan for the Brew Café, building it solely out of pocket.
“I put my blood, sweat and tears into this building. My grandma would always say ‘if you don’t have money, don’t spend it,’” he said.
The Brew Café stocks Sozo coffees, a top of the line imported Italian Victoria Arduino espresso machine and Coldspell cold brew to make its coffee concoctions.
Made from beans roasted in Ionia, Michigan, Rodney and Mindy Hensley’s Sozo coffees are named after its farmers. For example, Sozo’s Guatemalan blend is named “Orlando” after its Guatemalan coffee farmer Orlando Lemus.
The opportunity for a coffee shop came to the veteran tattoo artist after a tenant left the downstairs space.
“I went over to Blue Owl and they told me when they were doing their sampling, Rodney was in Guatemala meeting with his farmers picking his beans,” Crane said.
Crane said he jumped on the opportunity. “I connected with him on a personal level. Once I got the sample, I knew he would be my guy.”
There has been a synergy between the coffee and ink business so far, Crane said.
“If you are more open to tattoos, it seems you are more open to coffee. Some of my clients, if they get a big enough tattoo, I will treat them to some good coffee.”
Pending the success of the coffee shop, a micro pub brewery will be next on the horizon, Crane said.
Seeing people meet and mingle in the shop is what makes it all worth it, Crane said.
“I wanted people to come in and experience meeting people. Coffee is great, but the people are greater. I love it.”
The Brew Café 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 610 N. Creyts Rd., Lansing (517) 253-8746 www.facebook.com/ thebrewcafelansing