Maslow Coffee will occupy the old Bitsy’s Flower Shop, a building that has been vacant for almost five years.
Since February, workers have been renovating the building and plan to open at the end of September.
Bitsy’s Flower Shop closed in 2013, when Bitsy Gregory decided it was time to quit and retire.
The building went through stages of multiple potential owners, but until January 0f 2018, it remained vacant. Pour Man’s Coffee attempted to lease and renovate the building in March of 2017, but announced their split the following October.
At the beginning of 2018, Miranda Palmer, a 2015 nursing graduate saw that the building was available and contacted her parents, Garrick and Kirsten. Garrick said their family has been involved in Abilene culture for 7-8 years.
“My dad and my mom always wanted to have a business of their own, and they saw an opportunity in Abilene,” said their youngest son Jonathan, a junior marketing major.
The family signed the lease in January, began construction in February and continued to pray about, for and in the building.
Garrick said the inspiration to open a coffee shop was based on an experience he had with a coffee shop drive-thru in Boise, Idaho. On the menu, he saw a specialty drink called “Milky Way,” a cappuccino that tasted like the candy bar.
“I thought to myself, ‘This is great,'” Garrick said. “For the past 20 years, I’ve wanted to open a coffee shop. With the expansion of the speciality coffee industry, there is a lot more awareness. Coffee has become the number one drink among 18-25 year olds, replacing soda.”
Jonathan and Garrick explained the meaning behind the name “Maslow” is an allusion to the American psychologist known best for his hierarchy of needs theory.
“We thought it would be a fun name that’s memorable,” Garrick said. “Everyone at different points in their lives have different needs. I remember that from my college days.”
Though all three of their kids attended, or still attend ACU, Garrick said he will be commuting from Flower Mound on a regular basis, and Kirsten will be the primary barista.
The store, located on Campus Court, is a quarter-mile walk from the Campus Center. Jonathan said although he is still in school, he’s excited that his family will be so close to campus.
“It’s a little offsetting at first,” Jonathan said. “You go to college to get away from your parents, but once you get over that, it’s a really cool experience.”
Though Miranda was a nursing major, Christian a kinesiology major and Jonathan a marketing major, Garrick said each member brings energy and excitement to the process.
“We’ve all been off doing our own things, but this experience has caused us to come together and bounce ideas off of each other,” Garrick said. “I didn’t realize we could get closer. This is about the adventure.”
Garrick said most of the experience is about the social aspect.
“The location is great; it’s right across from ACU in a building that has history,” Garrick said.
“We love to be social people,” Jonathan said. “We’d love to be able to impact everyone that walks into the shop. We want to serve one another like it says in the Bible and impact every single person who goes into the shop.”
The family began educating themselves through conferences like the Los Angeles Coffee Fest and a training in Seattle. Garrick said they took business-related classes and learned about legal aspects, management, hiring and marketing. Jonathan said he’s been able to use what he’s learned with his major thus far to help with social media and marketing.
“It gives me some experience to see the business side work, but how marketing works and how I can use ideas from the classes here and implement them into the shop.”
Maslow Coffee plans to serve basic coffee drinks including pour over, espresso beverages and lattes, as well as specialty drinks and Italian sodas.
Despite the increasing number of local coffee shops in Abilene including Monks, Beltway Coffee Co., Mezamiz and Mad Coffee, Garrick said they want to join in and work alongside what has already been established.
“With the other coffee shops, we want to work and play,” Garrick said. “We want to be friendly. Our job is not to knock anybody out; it’s to expand the culture. It’s about building community here.”
As they continue to learn, Garrick said they look to bring third and eventually fourth wave coffee into the Abilene market.
The first wave coffee movement began in the 1960s when coffee became easily accessible for all consumers, instant coffee became popular and consumers started using increasing amounts of cream and sugar. Second wave coffee came in the late 1960s and included the rise of Starbucks, espresso drinks and other milky drinks like frappucinos. Third wave coffee began in the 1990s, when coffee drinkers became more interested in the character of coffee, including drip and pour over.
Jonathan said though he doesn’t like taste of coffee, he is excited to participate in the social and creative aspects of being a barista.
The company showcased some speciality drinks during a Wildcat Week event and plans to open toward the end of September or early October. Their hours are not official, but Garrick said they hope to be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 12 a.m., and during finals week, potentially stay open for 24 hours. They plan to have a late opening on Sunday to allow employees to enjoy church.
Seating in the building will allot for 92 people, with a private room for business meetings or student groups to rent out.
“We’re excited about this,” Garrick said. “This is good; this is very exciting. I’ll definitely have to keep my season tickets.”