By Kevin Collison
Coffee lovers in the underserved northeast corner of downtown are about to get a place to call their own: Revocup expects to open by early summer at the historic Pickwick Building at Ninth and McGee.
Revocup is a locally-based chain that specializes in Ethiopian coffee, a “high-caliber” bean known for its sweeter and less acidic flavor, according to Michael Johnson. He added Ethiopia is the birthplace of the coffee plant.
“Kansas City is blessed to have a lot of individual coffee shops,” he said. “Most of us serve a niche, offering a unique flavor and experience.”
Revocup was founded about 10 years ago by Habte Mesfin. He opened the first shop at 11030 Quivera Rd. in Overland Park. Johnson opened his outlet at 11822 W. 135th St. and another suburban location is in the works at the Lenexa City Center.
As for coming downtown, Johnson said he’s acting as a consultant to assist with opening the new location. The new owners are Rahel Tezera and Mekonnen Anore. Anore has worked as a Starbucks barista and assistant store manager.
“The urban core has been growing and this is an opportunity to bring in a higher-end coffee shop with a different kind of coffee,” Johnson said.
Revocup also has outlets in St. Louis and California. It’s all part of plan to grow the business to benefit not only its owners, but the Ethiopian growers who produce the beans.
The Revocup Foundation builds libraries, wells and other physical and social improvements where its growers live. Revocup follows fair trade practices with its suppliers to assure they are adequately compensated for their labor.
“We’re trying to set up more Revocups for a bigger impact on the growers and to support our local community,” Johnson said.
The former Pickwick complex, which was built in the 1930 as a combination bus terminal, hotel and office building that covered a city block.
It reopened in 2017 following a $65 million redevelopment project as the East 9 at Pickwick Plaza apartments.
The complex also includes street-front retail spaces. The new Revocup will occupy about 861 square feet with indoor seating for 15- to 20 people. The owners also hope to offer a sidewalk seating.
Besides a variety of coffee beverages–and there’s more options than Ethiopian–Revocup will have light sandwiches, yogurt, parfaits, bagels and pastries. Occasional classes on “all things coffee” also are envisioned.
The hours are expected to be from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Johnson said the closing hours may be extended depending on how the market responds.
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