This past Saturday the team at Handsome Coffee Roasters celebrated their one year anniversary. As anyone that follows small business will tell you ” they say, the first year is the toughest”. if that is cause for any new business to celebrate then this one is especially significant to the Angeleno. Handsome Coffee Roasters immediately became one of the central hubs of the downtown Arts District area. There are other coffee shops around, sure, but none with the same community impact as HCR. Anthony Carnazzo, the General Manager of Handsome, spare a few moments from hosting the night to chat with me. I came to realize that impact of their coffee shop on the community is by no means accidental. fd;gkfl;kf
If you were to stop by the anniversary party you would basically encounter two types of people; 50% are people that frequent Handsome and 50% of the people were there to party and find out about it. It was a gathering of familiar faces and an opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone you have always thought was interesting but didn’t want to disturb their work or reading. It felt more like a house party than something put on by a business. That is because the boys at Handsome Coffee Roasters know how to create a comfortable space, ” We are helping to be architects of the art centered community.” , says Carnazzo. ”
It is not just a place where you can sit in a cool space and grab a great cup of joe. This coffee shop has the deliberate intention of being a central hub of the are it is in and a fixture of the local environment. Instead of being pressured to make space for the next customer after finishing their coffee, guests are routinely greeted by baristas to see how the coffee was and share conversation. Anthony explains, “We let people stay here all day if they want. Even if they only purchasing one cup of coffee.”
This type of service has certainly turned into what looks like a successful business model. I was able to speak with Michael Philips on the following Sunday. Mike is one of the co-founders and a world champion barista. ” On a monday, you could hear 3 different meetings going on here. A group talking about a new real estate project, another, about some creative collaboration, and a third, having a discussion about some non-profit or charity.”, Mike said. Even as I sat on sunday I heard 3 languages being spoken at my table besides english. And it wasn’t just the local artist in there as well. The clientele runs the social and economic gambit of the local landscaper, downtown business man, and coffee tourist looking to quench their curiosity.
In speaking with Anthony I come to find how the care has been placed into the shop, “We see ourselves as a hospitality company, peering through the lens of coffee.” Anthony, has a background in hospitality himself, and after dabbling in finance, insurance, and even real estate, found that cultivating people connection is where his true passion lies,”We’ve got a focused menu,and have taken out some of the dismissive and condescending nomenclature of the coffee language.” Instead of calling things “tall”, “grande” and other uncommon vernacular, they offer a 30z, 5oz, and 10oz espresso with milk and straight brewed coffee.
The continuing of a business that is chasing more than profit, but is adding to the fabric of the landscape is cause for the city to celebrate indeed. It should be the goal of every business to participate in, and improve upon their community in what ever space and capacity they operate.
Make a wish Handsome Coffee, happy birthday. Los Angeles is right there with you singing.
582 Mateo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
M – F 7 am to 6 pm
Sat-Sun 8 am to 6 pm