A note from A.S.

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A note from A.S.

I've been known to over-think things. It's just what I do. It's fine. I'm fine. This past month has had me over-thinking, in a good way, about life...and business...and friendship. Opening a new business will do that to you...I think? Bringing to life what was once just a passing thought will make you feel a lot of feelings & brings upon levels of reflection that are so important to dig into. 

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I sometimes get asked about my experience starting a business & get loads of questions about 'how', and even 'why'.

Over the course of the last four years, I've learned more than I ever thought I could--certainly more than I ever learned in college, and I consider this little side-business, for lack of a better term, my MBA. 

Four things have stood out to me recently. These four things are the most certain things I know right now. I don't claim to speak from any place of authority, as we all know, life is a long-ass game, and we are always growing & evolving. 

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1. Friends. 

Starting a business with a friend is often frowned upon, and, in some circumstances, even discouraged. I literally never believed this. I vividly remember the first time my friend Ben & I talked about the idea of Golf Park. It was so natural and exciting and, just felt right. Navigating our friendship and business relationship has taken an immense amount of work and communication, but let me tell you--it's worth it. There's no one else who I would rather run this company with. Are there times where tough conversations need to be had? Yes. Has our friendship changed? Yes. Absolutely. It has strengthened--and formed an incredible amount of trust between us. It has to be that way. When choosing your business partners: trust your gut. You'll know. 

2. Starting Matters.

I've had ideas for businesses my entire life. Some of those ideas have been so ridiculously unrealistic, and some of those ideas are still yet to come. The difference with the idea behind Golf Park is that we just went for it. Did it make sense at the beginning? Not always. In fact, there have been several times along the way that starting Golf Park made me question everything, including my sanity. If you've got ideas brewing, run with them. Is it nerve-wracking to put yourself out there? Of course. Is there a potential to fail? Definitely. To fail trying is a beautiful thing. It's not always going to work - but if you're on the verge of a cool idea, don't stifle it.

3. Change is Okay. 

Staying the course, although important in some cases, doesn't always make sense. Opening a coffee shop was never really in the plans for Golf Park. We were happy to be part of the community, serving coffee at events, festivals, and markets in Lynchburg--all with minimal overhead and minimal risk. Then, an opportunity came our way. One of those opportunities that you can't say no to. We battled with the idea for months before finalizing the deal to open a storefront. It definitely flung us miles out of our comfort zone, but it also made so much sense at the same time. I think that's true of change in general. If it's right - it will stretch us and grow us and ultimately leave us better than where we were.

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4. Good People. 

Surrounding yourself with good people is quite simply the only thing that matters. We have been so lucky to have some of the most quality people buy into our vision and jump on board with what our vision, and, that is truly what has made Golf Park what it is today. Interns, volunteers...and now baristas--all these people contribute to who we are. At the end of the day, Golf Park is so much bigger than just a coffee shop. Our team does life together. We look after each other. We love our customers, and we love our community. Leaving Lynchburg better than how we found it leaks out of everything we do--it has to--why else do this?

-A.S.

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Bellwether Coffee: Denver, CO.

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Bellwether Coffee: Denver, CO.

Our intern Bram VanderMark spent most of his summer traveling across the US. With each new city visited, he encountered some of the country's best coffee shops. Here is an interview with one of his favorites from his stopover in Denver, CO. 

Introducing, Bellwether...

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What is Bellwether and what makes it unique?
Bellwether is a full coffee house and cocktail bar open 7 days a week from 7am to 10pm on weekdays and 7am to Midnight on the weekends. We wanted Bellwether to feel like a second home while still offering something unique to the community. The barbershop in the back that serves the homeless, neighborhood regulars as well as some of Denver's finest athletes adds an interesting twist and the fact that the coffee we serve is roasted on site makes sure we're putting a great product out that sets us apart.  We really want the culture of this place to expand beyond our menu and our walls.

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What was the vision for Bellwether when it began and how has that vision changed through the years?
We started as a whiskey only spot and have recently evolved into a full bar that serves up great cocktails, a solid beer selection, and some other tasty offerings (rosé all day). Evolution and adaptation are part of modern business. You're either getting Better or you're getting worse. You're either growing or you're dying. We pride ourselves on continually adapting to our neighborhood and community needs.

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How does Bellwether add value to its community and the culture of Colfax Ave?
We love our community and our location on Colfax. The vibe we create caters to all walks of life and it's what we thrive on. Because of our location we are able to fill some amazing community needs such as free coffee and free haircuts to those in need. We want everyone, no matter what walk of life you're from, to feel welcome and accepted here.

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Bellwether has some pretty unique artwork and design throughout its space - what's the story behind those?
We have some amazingly talented friends in Axel Geitman and Christian Watson that blessed us with their talents. We couldn't have asked for a better team to bless our walls.

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Lastly, what's your favorite drink?
Our nitro whisky on tap is the only of its kind in the nation. You truly have to taste it to realize what you've been missing out on. And on the coffee side, our house Cortado and our nitro cold Brew are also fan favorites!

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Drink more of this: ROSÉ Simple Syrup.

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Drink more of this: ROSÉ Simple Syrup.

Since joining the Lynchburg Community Market, our new Saturday routine has been filled with lots of cold brew, fresh pastries, and sampling some of the region's best seasonal produce and other goods including our current favorites, Scratch Pasta and SoulShine Farms. Each week, we make a point to stop by a new vendor's space to learn about what they offer.

A couple weeks ago, our market neighbor [Wildwood Berry Produce + Farm] had the most amazing blackberries. Our mint simple syrup from last summer was so delicious that we wanted to create another summer simple syrup that would pair nicely with our cold brew.

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Using fresh blackberries, basil, and summer favorite, rosé, we created a refreshing simple syrup that you'll want to add to your cold brew coffee, and...just about everything else you drink.

Try the recipe here:

1. Combine 1 bottle of rose, 1 cup of sugar, 1 box of fresh [muddled blackberries] and a handful of fresh basil leaves.

2. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

3. Strain and remove blackberries and basil leaves.

4. Add 1-3 oz of the syrup to your GPC cold brew.

5. Garnish with fresh basil.

Cheers!

We hope to create more recipes with our findings at the LYH Community Market. Stay tuned.

 

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Shoeless Joe

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Shoeless Joe

This is the only summer drink you need. Period. 

As refreshing as they come, the Shoeless Joe by Bon Appetit is packed with flavor and super easy to make.

We tweaked the recipe slightly by incorporating Topo Chico instead of club soda...because, well...Topo Chico.

Ingredients:

BLACK CHERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened 100% black cherry juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar

COCKTAIL

  • 2 oz. Black Cherry Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz. Golf Park cold-brew coffee
  • 1 12-oz. bottle Topo Chico
  • 1 12-oz. bottle Coca-Cola
  • Lime wedges (for serving)

Follow these easy steps to recreate your new favorite bevy:

Preparation

BLACK CHERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

Bring juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and cook, stirring, until dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a jar, cover, and chill.

DO AHEAD: Syrup can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled.

COCKTAIL

For each cocktail, mix 1 oz. black cherry simple syrup and 1 oz. coffee in a rocks glass. Add ice to fill, then 3 oz. club soda and 3 oz. cola. Garnish with lime wedge.

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The GPC Boys Visit Blanchard's

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The GPC Boys Visit Blanchard's

Earlier this month, we decided to hop in the car and drive up to Richmond to visit our partner roastery, Blanchard's. We hadn't been since they moved into their new RVA headquarters. Stephen Robertson, of Blanchard's Coffee, greeted us early on a Saturday morning and was kind enough to treat us to a private cupping featuring some of their new coffees.

We loved hearing stories of the Blanchard's team traveling to the different regions where their coffee is sourced - it was so cool to hear about the origin farmers who are growing coffee around the world and their commitment to providing us with the best of the best beans.

Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Company is all about providing education to its community, and we can definitely say that, even in our short morning visit, we felt more knowledgeable and informed about the where and why behind the coffee we use.

Our day-trip was a fantastic reminder of why we do what we do: build community. We left the roasting facility feeling so inspired [possibly a tad coffee-drunk] and excited about the things ahead for GPC.

"I think Golf Park has a beautiful brand image, and it is run by a great group of guys. I've always gotten a great, welcoming feeling talking to you guys. As I've watched the progression of your brand, via Instagram, mostly, I've always gotten the vibe of a group of friends coming together to share great moments that happen to start with cold brew (which is outstanding, by the way). Creating that vibe via pictures, stories, and conversations is a rare talent, so I couldn't be more impressed. We're excited to see you guys continue to grow, and we're happy to help in any way we can." SR

Here's a closer look at our conversation with Stephen:

Tell us about Blanchard's [new] roasting facility & describe its focus on education.
We moved into our new space in November of 2015. Obviously, we needed a production space that could accommodate our existing 30-kilo roaster as well as the addition of a new, 35 kilo Loring roaster. We also needed more space to store our ever-growing green coffee inventory needs. Beyond that, our biggest add to our model was a 1000 sq-ft training and education space. Because our model is primarily wholesale roasting for brewers and retailers, we don't have an inherent daily interaction with the people who drink our coffee - something roasters with a retail coffee shop presence enjoy. We wanted to create a space where we could train and educate across the widest possible cross section of our customers - from our own continuing coffee education, to training our clients on the equipment they'll be using in their shops, to teaching the general public how to make a better cup of coffee at home. We open this space up a wide variety of events - most directly related to our coffee, but some just tangentially related to coffee - all with the overarching purpose of building community and conversation on a foundation of a great cup of Blanchard's Coffee. 

What inspires you in your current role?
My job, on its face, is sales and marketing. Personally, I find nothing about the generic definition of sales and marketing inspiring. With that in mind, I don't approach my role at Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co. with a traditional sales and marketing philosophy. I think everyone at Blanchard's, including myself, approaches their role, first, with a desire to put better coffee in everyone's cups. Beyond that, we all aim to tell a better story, about our company, about the coffee industry as a whole, and about what makes coffee important. We build community, to put it simply, and the rest just happens organically. I never want someone to buy our coffee because I had a good pitch, or my prices beat someone else's prices. I want people to buy our coffee because it tastes great, because it has a great story, because it is traceable, and creates sustainability and resilience throughout the supply chain. I want people to do business with us because they like us and trust us. 

Anything new coming up for Blanchard's?
We are ALWAYS up to something. We're constantly building efficiency in our day to day production so we can free up time for our entire team to devote to their own pet projects - things they're passionate about in coffee. This has led to some of the best ideas we've ever set in motion. Our big, tangible goals for 2017 are definitely rooted at the farm-level. We're making some major financial and creative investments with our farm partners in Nicaragua and Colombia - investments that will bear fruit, literally, in the upcoming harvests you'll see hitting the USA in mid-summer. We have some great coffee releases coming up, including a Colombia Geisha in March. Stay tuned to our Instagram to see all the cool stuff we have coming up.

What's your favorite Blanchard's coffee at the moment?
It is tough for me to ever pick a favorite. I always lean towards African coffees, and the Ethiopia Koke Honey Natural is a consistent go-to. Having just gotten back from Finca San Jose in Nicaragua, that coffee has been fresh on my mind and I've been enjoying it a lot lately. Finally, the Colombia Finca El Obraje has been cupping exceptionally well lately, so that has been a surprise favorite for me.

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4th Annual Chili Cook Off

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4th Annual Chili Cook Off

On Sunday we hosted our annual Chili Cook Off. The weather was perfect, the chili was delicious and the best part was hanging with old and new friends. Thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday - it was so fun to have everyone over! A BIG thank you to everyone who entered a chili into the contest. This year, we had 10 chilis battle it out for the coveted Golden Ladle. 

First place: Kyle Dunscomb (by a LONG shot)
Second place: Stephanie Petit
Third place: Amber Teer

Here our some photos from Sunday, shot by our dude, Bram VanderMark.

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Leather & Coffee.

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Leather & Coffee.

Leather & Coffee - what a great combo! Today, we got to serve our cold brew at Moore & Giles' annual sales meeting. It was so awesome to meet people from all over the world and talk with them about our coffee, company and Lynchburg. We look forward to being back tomorrow!

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We Threw A Party.

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We Threw A Party.

This past weekend we invited 75 of our friends and customers to a "first-look" party for our new cold brew tricycle aka the #GPCtrike. We wanted those who have been with us since the beginning to be the first to get a sneak peek at this new part of our business.

We drank lots of coffee, ate lots of donuts and most importantly got to hang with new and old friends. THANK YOU to everyone who took time out of their Saturday morning routine to come be a part of the #GPCtrike Launch!

We love you guys.

(Photos by: Bram VanderMark @bram_bomb)

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Introducing the #GPCtrike

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Introducing the #GPCtrike

We're super pumped to introduce you to the newest member of our team, the #GPCtrike! This baby will be popping up around downtown LYH and will be used at citywide events! If you see us rolling around, be sure to stop by for a closer look and grab one of our nitro cold brews.

Stay tuned to our Twitter and Instagram feeds for our various pop-up locations!

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LYH T-Shirt

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LYH T-Shirt

The latest from our LYH Collection is available now! These super soft black & white t-shirts are perfect for repping the city that we LOVE. Order yours here.

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