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blogpost – coffee changes

At the risk of starting with something unsettling, my heretofore favorite coffee shop has changed, they’ve renovated. In fact, with a swift motion, literally overnight, I am left looking for things that are the same as before. I’m itemizing those aspects that I liked, so that I can feel less-unsettled. On the upswing, let us realize that our small actions can have significant and relational effect on people, the city, and the world by extension. And change always opens the door for more change and competition and growth – that’s good for the city, and for our specific interests.

And so, ignoring the hi-res security camera in the corner and the fact that I can no longer order eggs for lunch, let us focus on the positives:

1) The staff is the best, some of my best partners on the street, without them, most of the rest wouldn’t matter. So thankful for their familiar faces and pseudo-social-political-understated-ironic support.

2) Second, the coffee, I really like it. It’s still here, and a cup can easily bring me through a whole morning or a hard afternoon.

3) The wood countertops are just nice, warm and thick. The wood bartop in the storefront is a sweet stroke, providing great views from the inside or out, improving efficiency in the cue without losing a seat.

4) The in-house baked goods is purposeful, and kind of brave. Not that I promise I like the new cookies better, but, well, I don’t like the new cookies better, and this might move a positive to the opposite category. Still, knowing who’s making your snacks is better than not knowing.

5) The new crowd, and the full seats, means that business is better for blocks around. It’s harder to find a table, like coming home after the party you’re hosting has already started. But as a city, this is what we all promote – people. Bring ’em on, all varieties, people are welcome, coffee shops are places where people mix. I love being unable to find a seat in my own home. Welcome.

6) Expressing the connection with the rest of the restaurant resources is honest. You may not realize at first glance that Morning Times, Raleigh Times, the patio over Holly Aiken, and catering around the corner are all one gig. That’s good, it’s progressive development within existing urban architecture, very hard to do. But that kind of progress makes me nervous, as all things corporate tend to do: I’m always afraid of losing identity as a place, just when we thought we knew who we were. So, these positives are a little iffy.

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I’m surprised by how much this mini-renovation is affecting me. (the project scope wouldn’t have required an architect, fyi.) A place becomes familiar, and change isn’t easy. This also, proves my working hypothesis that place and basic design matters, and I’m glad we do the work we do. We wish that changes would happen in a more compartmentalized way, where we can comprehend change in one area of experience while other areas remain stable – we’re in a season where all that we wanted to see change (re: economic development), is changing, and a lot is happening at once. Today is what happens when we start to see what we want.

I’ll have to find my egg sandwich somewhere else, and I may have to find a new struggling hole-in-the-wall where I can be quiet with my thoughts. Still, congratulations to the Times, and thanks to Empire for keeping things moving. Thanks for being here when I needed you, and PLEASE don’t change the coffee.

Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
19 W Hargett Street, Suite 700-A | Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 889 6823 | | TWITTER: aoarch

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Osterlund Architects is a full-service architecture and interior design firm, committed to our clients and their work from concept through construction, and through to their next opportunity. Our firm has expertise in all project phases, including programming, pre-design and planning through construction administration and closeout, as well as interior design, including furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE) services.

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