Bridgeport Coffee owner Mike Pilkington said Thursday afternoon that he expects his latest store at 9135 S. Western Ave. to open by the first week of December.
"This spot just seems to be really right for us," said the founder of the original Bridgeport Coffee at 3101 S. Morgan St. as well as others in Hyde Park and a kiosk location in the South Loop.
Bridgeport Coffee will also expand on the footprint set by the previous tenant, taking over the retail shop just south of the former Hardboiled Coffee too. A temporary wall separates the two storefronts, which Pilkington believes will make for an easy expansion.
Pilkington signed a lease for the building on Wednesday and said he'd been scouting locations in Beverly for three years before stumbling upon the spot along the busy stretch of Western Avenue.
He said the was drawn to the location by the coffee roasting duct that stood like a beacon atop of the building. He later fell in love with the 1960s style of the building along with the opportunity to be neighbors with the Original Rainbow Cone and Beverly Bike and Ski.
Bridgeport Coffee will start with just one shift per day, operating from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. weekends.
Besides beverages, the neighborhood's newest coffee shop will also offer grab-and-go food items, including standards like doughnuts, scones and croissants. But Pilkington said he'll also have some refrigerated items such as yogurt and fruit parfaits too.
Bridgeport Coffee opened in its first location in 2004. The owners expanded in 2013, adding a location inside the Hyde Park Art Center in August and a kiosk inside the Roosevelt Collection mall in October.
The company prides itself on its "farm-to-cup" concept, importing coffee beans directly from a grower in El Salvador. Pilkington said he also promotes a positive atmosphere throughout his coffee shop, combining fast WiFi with reclaimed wooden tabletops.
"The vibe in the shop will reflect who we are as a company," Pilkington said.
Unlike the previous tenant, Bridgeport Coffee does all of its roasting at its off-site facility at 3430 S. Ashland Ave. in McKinley Park. Many of the coffee house's blends are also named for the Bridgeport neighborhood, including roasts such as Bubbly Creek, Stockyard and Mayor's Blend.
Pilkington wouldn't speculate on why Hardboiled Coffee closed in the same location on July 24, but he said he wasn't scared off by it either. He believes one thing that sets him apart is that he's part of a larger, established company. Thus, he can "float" his newest coffee house a bit financially while the customer base is being built.
"You know, people close down for a variety of reasons," Pilkington said. "I can't say why one business is successful and another isn't."
For his part, Hardboiled owner Gregg Wilson wished the new coffee shop well. Wilson partnered with Neil Byers, owner of Horse Thief Hollow Brewing Co., after shuttering his storefront. Wilson moved his 10-kilo coffee roaster into a small corner of the popular brewpub and has focused on his emerging wholesale business ever since.
"I always did think the neighborhood needed a coffee house. It still does," Wilson said on Thursday.
Pilkington said he plans to begin preparing the building for his newest shop today. He hopes to eventually have outdoor seating behind the store and was clearly excited about bringing his brand a bit farther south.
"We feel pretty confident," he said.
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