New Superior coffeehouse owner to keep sweets coming, with Red Mug Bake Shop
The first day she walked into the Red Mug Coffeehouse, Suzanne Johnson fell in love with it. She loved the energy and the space, she said, and the regular customers who stopped by. So she made it hers. Earlier this month, Johnson became the major...
The first day she walked into the Red Mug Coffeehouse, Suzanne Johnson fell in love with it.
She loved the energy and the space, she said, and the regular customers who stopped by. So she made it hers. Earlier this month, Johnson became the majority owner in not only the Superior coffeehouse but a new expansion, Red Mug Bake Shop, which is poised to open in early November.
"It's exciting," Johnson said of the move. "It's scary but I'm really excited about it."
The bakery will open one floor above the coffee shop in the Trade and Commerce Building, in the former home of Sustenance Artisan Breads. It will offer many of the same items by baker and former Sustenance owner Dale Karsky.
"We're going to still have our focaccia and the baguettes and the 10-grain and Dale's going to do some of his desserts still," Johnson said, including gluten-free items.
Karsky said long work hours and the poor economy led him to close Sustenance Artisan Breads on Sept. 3. But he was willing to continue to do some baking for Red Mug.
In addition, many of the coffeehouse's signature items -- scones, muffins, bars and quiches -- may be baked in the new store.
"I think they will complement each other nicely," Johnson said. "What we are lacking in the
coffeehouse in regards to adequate space and equipment to do all the baking we require and would potentially like to do, acquiring the bakery seemed like perfect sense."
The move to open a bake shop is also tied to Red Mug's motto -- community, creativity and quality.
"And the community really wants a bakery up there," Johnson said.
Tami LaPole Edmunds runs Art in the Alley Marketplace, across the hall from the former bakery. At least 20 times a day she has to answer the same question:
"Everybody comes in saying 'Where's the bakery?'" she said.
Soon, they'll be able to purchase the breads they've been looking for as well as pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes and muffins at Red Mug Bake Shop. Gift items will round out the new store, which already sports one red wall.
"It's going to be bigger and better than ever," Edmunds said.
The space will also include some seating options, Johnson said, for customers who want to spend time in the new bakery.
"It will be interesting to see what the community wants up there," she said. "I totally believe the bakery space is going to evolve."
Edmunds, too, has made recent changes based on what customers want. The original Art in the Alley shop, which looks over Hammond Avenue, became a bead store when the Marketplace opened up. But class space is now located at the Marketplace, which offers unique items from 53 local artists as well as fair trade items. Edmunds moved the beads into that store so customers wouldn't have to trek through the building after classes to get beading supplies. The former bead store is now a clothing boutique, specializing in new and repurposed artisan clothes.
Why a clothing store?
"It's what was selling here," Edmunds said. The clothing boutique celebrated its grand opening last week. Items available run the gamut from mild to wild, with most being one-of-a-kind pieces of art created by Edmunds and clothing designer Kimberly Stromgren. For example, a plain velvet jacket popped with new embellishment during a tour of the store last week; fabric patches gave down vests an air of funky cool.
"It's fun, eclectic," Edmunds said, with a little bit of something for everyone.
The Trade and Commerce Marketplace, located in the old City Hall building at Hammond Avenue and Broadway Street, is a space filled with energy and creativity, Johnson said.
"I love every single day that I'm here," she said. "There's no other place like this in town."