Surrounded by students and professionals, State Street’s market for coffee shops is no stranger to competition.
Come August, Colectivo Coffee will also be competing with locally-owned coffee shops closer to campus as they plan to expand their business throughout Madison.
Colectivo currently occupies a space on South Pinckney Street on the Capitol square. They are opening new cafés in the Hub on State Street and on Monroe Street.
Formerly named Alterra Coffee Roasters, Colectivo Coffee is a Wisconsin company based in Milwaukee.
Scott Schwebel, Director of Marketing at Colectivo, said the coffee shops have been building relationships with the neighborhoods they are located in, and have been doing so throughout their 20 years of business. The expansion is only a continuation of that, he said.
“As a local Wisconsin company, we have always intended our cafes to positively contribute to the neighborhoods and communities they occupy,” Schwebel said. “Adding vibrancy to the street, creating engaging hand-built environments for gathering, offering a unique range of made-from-scratch bakery, locally sourced food and our session-roasted coffees. All with a sense of purpose and a mission to operate at the highest level of quality and service possible.”
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said while local coffee shops in the State Street and Capitol area will have new competition, there should be no substantial adverse effects on their business.
With all of the people living and working in the downtown area, there is plenty of competition to go around, Verveer said.
But local coffee shops are not quite seeing it like that.
Sam Chehade, owner of Fair Trade Coffee House and Michaelangelo’s Coffee House, said the coffee shop industry is becoming “predatory,” especially in Madison.
“The market in Madison is saturated with coffee houses, and it is not a sustainable model to just keep opening and opening coffee houses,” Chehade said. “Especially if they are trying to dominate.”
Chehade said Colectivo and other franchised coffee shops are “not helping” the public by pushing local companies out of business.
However, patrons of various cafés and coffee shops downtown do not seem be as involved with the political side; they are more interested in getting good coffee.
“It’s different. There aren’t only students but also a lot of people from the Madison area,” Nicole Brandt, a customer at Espresso Royale Coffee said. “There’s lots of diversity.”
Customers at Colectivo said they appreciated the coffee and the general atmosphere of the café.
“I really like the music, the ambiance, and the comfy chairs,” Kim Truong, a customer at Colectivo, said. “I feel safe. It has a warm environment.”
Verveer said he is supportive of Colectivo expanding business in Madison, and expects the same popularity and success for the State Street location as the Capitol square location.
However, Verveer said Madison officials try to not get involved in the politics of coffee houses aside from dealing with liquor license applications.
Schwebel said he looks forward to the expansion and sees it as a positive step.
“We are a company that focuses daily on trying to do our best work, yet seeking constant improvement as we go; this takes tremendous energy,” Schwebel said. “We also want to evolve and embrace opportunity, so the future is an unknown adventure.”