Pour Man’s flagship coffee shop will soon occupy the former Bitsy’s Flowers space on Campus Court. Pop-up coffee stand founders David Neill and Daniel Sotelo, recent ACU graduates, have brought on two new partners as part of their expansion plans: building owner Harley Burnett and real estate agent Alex Whitten. Neill and Sotelo have managed to work out what they called a lucky deal that came together in the last few weeks, beating out several other groups looking at the space.
Pour Man’s is slated to open its nearly 4000-square-foot shop in September after extensive renovations take place over the summer. Neil and Sotelo plan to expand their coffee offerings from just pour-over coffee to include espresso-based drinks, plus pastries and other cold beverage options. The space is the only non-ACU-owned property on the strip across from Hardin Administration building.
Neill and Sotelo didn’t disclose how much they’d pay in rent to Burnett, the building’s owner, or how much they were spending on the renovation. When the idea of a shop first came to the table, the pair figured they could get approved for a loan in the $60,000-70,000 range. Now, they plan to spend that much on coffee-making equipment alone.
The Pour men plan to purchase a Slayer brand three-group espresso machine. For those who don’t speak coffee-shop talk, that means they’ll be getting one of the best machines in the industry and a hefty price tag to match. A Slayer Three-Group machine checks out at $22,575.
“We are not going to cut corners with anything,” Neill said. “We are the luckiest people ever.”
After initially talking with the realtor for the Bitsy’s space, Neill and Sotelo got connected to building owner Burnett, who also owns both Tea2Go locations in town. Neill said the three clicked right off the bat. Burnett liked their vision so much, he made an offer to come on as a partner and help them renovate the shop space. Whitten also came on as a partner to the business and will help Neill and Sotelo make connections as they move forward with the project.
The new space will be a big jump for Pour Man’s, which opened last April as a mobile stand that set up around town. In their first year open, Neill and Sotelo estimated they did roughly $6,000 in sales.
Where some might be a little nervous for that big of a jump, Neill and Sotelo said they aren’t scared or worried about competition from other shops. They are banking on their close proximity to the university to boost their sales. In addition to starting their stand, Neill and Sotelo were both a part of launching Beltway Coffee.
“We’ve been thinking about opening our own shop since we helped start Beltway,” Sotelo said. “We’ve had grand openings before, we’ve had time to prepare. Now it’s about executing.”
In the coffee business, location is everything for the success of a shop, Neill and Sotelo said.
“We knew we needed to be by college students if we wanted to be successful,” Neil said.
They plan to stay open late, host music shows and create a customer experience that will keep business coming year round, even when school is out.
“We’re just two broke college kids, and even though our sales weren’t big, the time we’ve put into our brand is what attracted our investors,” Sotelo said.