Author: Luke Noland
I walked up to an unassuming brick building on a quiet street on a midweek afternoon. This wasn’t special. This was just a normal day in an ordinary place. “Why am I here?”, I thought. There was a double-door at the entrance to 325 Lincoln Street; old fashioned looking, wooden, a funky design with glass panels. I thought they were kind of cool…
Sitting inside the lobby of this oddly furnished office space, six guys were sitting in a semi-circle, one empty seat on the left side of the room. Apparently, they were waiting...for me. My friend James had trapped me into coming here, desperate to cut his five minute drive for coffee down to a five step walk next door. These guys were here to talk coffee, talk business, talk change.
On that day, and over many days thereafter, a DREAM began to form into a reality. It was a Dream that said, We love people. People love coffee. Maybe we can love people THROUGH coffee??? When I say “love” what I mean is showing them how much we care. It’s hard to show people we care in a way that is meaningful to them. However, when you hand someone a cup of coffee day-after-day there is an immediate level of trust between two people. If you can trust someone to craft you a tasty beverage, you can begin to trust that they care. This is what makes us Fourscore, WE DO CARE.
The Men Behind the Curtain
Jesse liked his tea. Once or twice a week, he would come in and order hot tea in a pot. He spoke in a gruff voice, always had erratic haircuts, and I could see colorful and intriguing tattoos running up into his shirt sleeve. I never talked to him much but I always thought that he seemed like an interesting person. Maybe one day I’d get the chance to chat with Jesse as he sipped on that hot tea…
If you told people who knew Jesse and I that we were going to open a coffee shop together, you would have been met with raised eyebrows or uncontrollable laughter. We didn’t come off as the typical business partners and we didn’t know each other like you’d expect. We just worked hard and worked together. The hardest work began when we had to close in December 2015 to renovate. Mountains and Valleys were explored and overcome as a team, along with the support, love, encouragement, sweat, and tears of friends and family. I’ll never forget when our loyal coffee-drinkers Brett and Mitchell showed up to bust down walls and haul debris out of the shop. I couldn’t believe that these guys (and so many others) would take bits of sheet rock to the head or 100 year-old dust to the eyeball for their local coffee spot.
Fast forward one year, Jesse and I standing in our empty shop. It’s been over 13 months since we closed to renovate and tensions have been running high. What did we get ourselves into?! As we look around the shop, we can see it starting to come together but there’s still so much work ahead. “Are we gonna make it?” I asked Jesse. He responded, “we are in this together, we can make it.”
My friend Scotty recently told me an African Proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When Fourscore was closed, it tested our resolve to care about the Mission we had from the beginning. Together, we could refine and strengthen the vision we had from the onset.
As Jesse and I watched the events of 2016 unfold, we began to realize that caring for others had planted seeds for them to CARE ABOUT US. We began to care MORE, to be inspired beyond our original dream, and to seek out new avenues of change and growth for Fourscore. We partnered with two close friends, bringing more capital and vision to the Mission of Fourscore and the four of us walked through the fire together and Fourscore was relaunched in February of 2017. The Men Behind the Curtain became the Men Behind the Counter, and we were making coffee once again…
The Life Behind the Mission
People bring systems to life. You can have a great space, a great product and business plan, but if you don’t have the right people involved, all of that can be dead. We had defined the Mission of Fourscore and we had built the space, but we knew that amazing people had to be involved to make it come alive! Some of the most incredible people came around us to open Fourscore and I will never forget the work they did. I can’t tell you how many times a customer has complemented one of our baristas and said, “I came back because that person made me feel special.” What we teach is that you don’t just make people FEEL special, you learn that they are special. They are unique, messy, funny, boring, loud, quiet, adventurous, filled with life and stories beyond measure. The people working at Fourscore bring the coffee to life and the people walking in the door bring us alive.
The Abe Head
Everyone has come to recognize “The Abe Head”, Mr. Lincoln. We love the giant Abe head and it warms my heart every time I see someone reppin’ it. I was recently about town, when I saw a girl in her 20’s walking towards me. She was wearing the Abe. I’ve never seen this girl, I didn’t know her name or her favorite drink, but I knew she was a part of Abe’s Army. It made me proud of Fourscore; not in the success, but in knowing that we have people who want to represent what Fourscore is all about. Not only do people learn about us when they walk into our shop, but they also want to tell others about our Mission, Vision, and Coffee when they leave. Incredible.
Being on Lincoln Street was the inspiration behind the name but as time passed, we realize that it means so much more to us and the community. We want to emancipate people from the pretentious coffee culture, we want to work hard to bring people together, we want to be an advocate for Truth and Justice, and we want to empower others by being a catalyst for their dreams. We can do that with coffee, we can do that with steadfastness, and we can do that with excellence. We hope that you continue to follow us on this journey and we look forward to what lies ahead. You are the wind in our sails, and we are simply enjoying the breeze from the helm of the ship we call Fourscore Coffee. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
If you haven't checked it out already, we talked about pour overs, home brewing and all you need to brew coffee at home. You can find that HERE.