New coffee shop open inside Palatine Metra station
The new coffee shop inside the Palatine Metra station saw its first full crowd of commuters Monday, as many returned to work following the holidays, and its staff is looking forward to more.
"It's been kind of fun," Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters owner Michael "Mike" Shipley said. "In each of the stores the day-to-day rushes can be a little bit different. At the train station, with every train cycle there is a big rush of people, then they slow down a little bit. We're getting the hang of it."
The fifth suburban location of the family-owned business opened Dec. 20 at 137 W. Wood St. The space is owned by the village and held a Starbucks for nearly 20 years.
The first week was "awesome" with lots of people from the community showing up, Shipley said. Current hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will expand in the coming weeks with an earlier opening and later closing.
Shipley had hoped to open in September. However, there were shipping delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plus some equipment was delivered damaged, he said. "We had great contractors, everybody worked really well ... but everybody is really busy."
Conscious Cup also has locations in Libertyville, Barrington, Cary and Crystal Lake. Shipley and operations manager Paige Benkert -- who rose to the position after starting as a barista -- rotate among the five locations, each of which has a shop manager.
The company was started in 2006 by the Shipley family, including Michael, his brother Jason, and their parents, Jack and Roseanna. The latter two are actively involved in the business.
The Palatine shop offers a menu of hot and cold coffee drinks plus teas, Italian sodas, chais and more.
There are doughnuts from Spunky Dunkers Donuts in Palatine, scones from Konrad's Bakery in Lake in the Hills, and gluten-free muffins and more from Holcomb Hollow in Mundelein. Everything is baked fresh daily.
More menu options are coming, Shipley said.
"We are still waiting on a grab-and-go refrigerator for beverages and food items. It won't arrive until the spring," Shipley said.
Jenna Wille of Jax & Jude Designs helped design the store, which has a bright and open feel, Shipley said. That includes warm wood trimmings with gray and bronze accents and yellow and gold elements, and a "cool-looking bar" with a white quartz countertop, he said.
"It feels to me like, when you walk into the train station and look at the coffee shop, that it's supposed to be there. That we are built into the space," Shipley said.
Finding staff was a challenge that Conscious Cup tackled by increasing wages to be competitive with corporations, Shipley said.
"The business is not just the buildings or some Instagram post or a cup of coffee. It's the people who are making it," he said.
The coffee shop will have a grand opening once the current COVID-19 surge has waned, Shipley said.
"We are really looking forward to spring and summer. We are planning to have great outdoor patio seating and we'll be adding some tables and seating inside the train station."