Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters preparing to open in Libertyville
The timing wasn't perfect, but when Michael Shipley heard space on a prime corner in downtown Libertyville was available, he felt there was no choice.
"We knew this opportunity wouldn't come around again and we had to jump on it," said Shipley, owner/operator of Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters, a family business started by his parents in 2006 and now planning its fourth location in Libertyville.
A newly opened Conscious Cup in Cary, along with established locations in Crystal Lake and Barrington, were keeping Shipley busy when the first floor of the 1890s-era building at Milwaukee Avenue and Church Street across the street from Cook Park became available.
The ground floor of what originally was the Libertyville Hotel had been occupied for about 10 years by Lovin' Oven Cakery before going on the market for rent last year.
The building was advertised as having premium exposure with more than 23,000 vehicles passing on Milwaukee Avenue each day. That's good for business, but wasn't the only factor in Shipley's decision.
Shipley grew up in Mundelein and during high school studied at the Cook Park Library across the street.
"It feels like coming home," he said.
Shipley, who now lives in Barrington, added he has had an eye on the location but never thought it would become available.
Work inside has been limited to demolition and associated tasks. Village permits to allow for the main elements are pending.
"The plans are finished. We're a step away from executing," said Shipley, who is aiming for a mid-January opening.
Conscious Coffee is a small batch craft coffee roaster that buys about 6,000 pounds of "premium, socially and environmentally sustainable coffees from the best growers around the world" every month.
Offerings feature a core of about a dozen blends with seasonal brews like the current "holiday hangover" dark roast, Shipley said.
The location also plans to feature a "very focused quick service menu" of breakfast foods meant for takeout. A big part of the business is catering, Shipley added.
Another mission illustrated by the business name is to use coffee as a means to bring different parts of the community together and establish a connection.
"Coffee is about the customers, it's about the engagement and it takes time," he said.
Pam Hume, executive director of MainStreet Libertyville, said there are a number of destination businesses in the village's downtown with a welcoming atmosphere and a roster of regular customers.
"At MainStreet, we are delighted that our downtown is full with new businesses opening to accommodate the latest trends while complementing the existing businesses," she said.