Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Venture: Rendezvous Coffee & Tea, Galena

How time flies when you're having fun! Has it really been nearly 3 months since my last post? It's been many months since I spent any time at the easel. Too long for sure, but that doesn't mean I haven't been creating.

The news: We have decided to open a family run business - a coffee and tea shop, with gallery and music - in the historic town of Galena, Illinois. "Rendezvous Coffee & Tea" (temporary website/blog) is proving to be my most challenging work of art to date!

Last month, we purchased the 150+ year old building at 112 North Main Street, with two upstairs apartments and a ground floor shop. Galena is a thriving tourist town, with many upscale shops and art galleries, excellent restaurants, and a beautiful setting among the rolling hills of north western Illinois. We will be taking over the entire building for our work/live space, and we are fortunate that our building is located in the busiest section of town.

We are in the process of working on the build out for the shop, aiming for a grand opening sometime in early July. Our daughter Teagan is assisting me with interior design and is also working on our identity, logo, website (url coming soon) and signage. Teagan just completed her second year of art training, specializing in illustration and graphic design. She is also a talented painter and the shop will feature her work as well as my own, plus rotating exhibitions by some of my most respected artist friends from Chicago and around the world.

When he's not managing the business aspects of the coffee shop, my husband Steve will be playing his own compositions on guitar during scheduled live music events at Rendezvous, and also coordinating other regional music acts for guest performances. On occasion, there will even be sessions of my beloved Irish music!

Sons Alex and Nate will help manage and work the coffee shop, and Alex will also take charge of the computer and sound systems, supplying free WiFi for our customers. Alex will soon have his degree in computer sciences; and in the fall, Nate will be a junior at Galena High School.

We are working with Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea in Chicago for our barista training, and will carry their coffee, espresso and loose tea products at Rendezvous. We love Intelligentsia's philosophy that coffee should be grown, processed and experienced as one would fine wine. This philosophy shows up in their products and we are proud to present them on Main Street, Galena. If you are going to sell coffee, you should sell the best!

Our food menu will be simple, fresh European style baked goods such as croissant, brioche, baguettes, madeleines, tarts, muffins and biscotti, supplied by local Galena baker Cynthia Sedan at Cynthia's Extra Batch, along with fine chocolates and selected bottled beverages.

Intelligentsia fresh roasted seasonal and single origin coffee beans and blends, black cat espresso, and bagged loose teas will be available for purchase on sight. Classic to trendy brewing equipment and accessories will round out the offerings at Rendezvous.

It's been a great feeling working on this project as a family. We have always been very close, and it seems like we each have an important talent to bring to the table that we are excited to share with our new community of Galena, and her visitors.

One question I keep hearing, and I'll answer it here - yes, we are retaining our Chicago home and our important and loving connections with family, friends, and the Chicago art and music scenes. The commute is just over three hours, we'll be back in the big city often!

I saw some black butterflies on my walk today, and one of them lighted on my drawing arm for a moment. Could this be a sign? My drawing muse has returned, just in time for the dust to settle on our project!

Here are some photos - just after we moved in: