MASON, Ohio -- Many coffee shops these days look more like work hubs, humming with a steady stream of customers equipped with mobile technology.
Perhaps the time has come to carve out office space inside a coffee shop? Christine Sandoval, owner of Cocoon Coffee, located at 6209 Snider Road in Mason, thinks so.
She is outfitting her new coffee shop with desks, chairs and office equipment such as a printer and scanner. If all goes as planned, Cocoon Coffee will open on Jan. 9.
“Most seating is open to our guests, while a fraction of the capacity is reserved for Cocoon members,” she said. Members pay a month-to-month “rent” and get unlimited coffee and tea.
As with many inventions, the idea of setting up a work space inside a coffee shop stemmed from necessity.
“(My husband) Michael and I are in a long-distance marriage due to our professional pursuits,” she said. “He visits me a week or two each month so he needs (a place) to work remotely.”
Working from home can be distracting, something Sandoval knows well. “This morning, I had a conference call, and my dog kept barking,” she said.
Cocoon Coffee will be outfitted with phone booths so members won’t have to step outside to use their phones. “Many winter days last year, Michael had to take calls outside in the freezing cold so he could hear and talk better,” Sandoval said.
The coffee shop is a roomy 2,670 square feet and seats roughly 40. On the menu are coffee, espresso drinks, tea and light café food like croissants and cookies. Drinks will be served in ceramic ware, in 8-, 12- and 16-ounce sizes.
As a coffee connoisseur whose drink of choice is a flat white (espresso shots with microfoam of milk), Sandoval is uncompromising when it comes to coffee. Cocoon Coffee has a partnership with Stumptown Coffee, a coffee roaster and retailer based in Portland, Oregon, that is known for its direct and sustainable partnerships with coffee farmers.
“We serve only the highest-quality coffee sourced directly from farmers around the world,” she said.
Sandoval, who has a doctorate degree in pharmacy and an MBA from Xavier University, relocated to Cincinnati three years ago to take a job with Procter & Gamble Co. Though she has since moved on to another corporation, she intends to continue her work in regulatory affairs.
Cocoon Coffee, though, is the product of Sandoval stepping out of her comfort zone.
“I was undergoing a spiritual journey with Crossroads,” she said, adding that she was called upon to step out into something uncomfortable. At first, Sandoval considered doing a triathlon.
“I was afraid of swimming and drowning and thought it would be perfect for stepping out of my comfort zone,” she said.
The idea of starting a business ultimately won out. Sandoval, who is originally from the Philippines, grew up helping her grandmother run her coffee shop and took the lessons of great coffee and hospitality to heart.
“She was a role model to me, and I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps and impact lives positively through an inspiring coffee shop,” Sandoval said.
The name “Cocoon” reflects Sandoval’s wish for the coffee shop to be a place of growth and transformation. She plans to accent it with inspirational quotes and hopes to inspire her customers to “grow themselves, nurture relationships and create their best work.”
So far, Sandoval’s plan to step outside her comfort zone is right on target: Nearly everything about starting a business has made her uncomfortable, and she quickly learned that even the best-laid plans can go awry in business.
However, she said the encouragement she has received from her team and community has propelled her forward.
“I’m a planner and I almost always have a plan for everything,” she said. “There were many times when I felt I wanted to just quit. I’ve learned to roll with the punches.”
Address: 6209 Snider Road, Suite A, Mason
Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday. (Scheduled to open Jan. 9; call to confirm opening day.)
Information: 956-533-4905; www.thecocooncoffee.com