Shine Coffee opens shop at midtown location

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Shine Coffee has added its brick-and-mortar location on the corner of Central Avenue and Vernon Street. The coffee shop will sell original recipes for coffee, pastries and seasonal beverages. (Thomas Hawthorne/DD)

There is no shortage of coffee shops in central Phoenix. Every morning they are marked by lines of workers, students and the average coffee lover waiting for their cup of Joe. However, finding the right coffeehouse is like shopping for a new book; everyone suggests their favorite.

Like an addition to a book store’s new arrivals rack, Shine Coffee has joined the growing coffee scene downtown and along the light-rail corridor. A staple at food truck events, the local coffee joint has added a brick-and-mortar location on the corner of Central Avenue and Vernon Street, selling original recipes for coffee, pastries and seasonal beverages.

“Everything we’re doing is about making it a delicious experience,” said Laryn Callaway-Blok, the co-founder of Shine. She and her husband, Christian Blok, opened Shine nearly a year and a half ago originally operating out of a vintage silver Airstream trailer.

“The one question we heard over and over was, ‘Where’s your shop? Where can I come in the morning to get a cup of coffee?’” Callaway-Blok said. “So we just started really listening to our customers.”

After searching Phoenix, the couple settled on a quaint building no larger than a few parking spaces. Built in the early ’40s, it once housed an endodontist office. It’s traditional East Coast architecture, complete with red brick walls and shingled roof, intentionally contrasts the modern interior design and logos.

But tucked away behind a larger building and an apartment complex on Vernon Street, Shine is barely visible to passing cars heading south on Central Avenue into Phoenix. The Encanto light rail stop obscures most of Vernon Street from northbound traffic.

“It’s a great location but we’re not really visible from the street,” said Elizabeth Bayer, a barista at Shine. “So if there was a sign that people at the light rail station could at least see, that would help all of us out.”

While Shine may be hidden from plain sight, it could hit home with people in the area.

“I really like the idea of a local establishment. I like that I can walk across the street,” said Jody Aarons, a resident of the Regency House Condominiums opposite Shine on Central Avenue.

Geographical location aside, Shine must also adapt to the constraints of a physical site.

“With a brick-and-mortar location there’s a long term commitment to a lease,” said Michael Brown, founder of the food truck Jamburritos, a constant in the Phoenix food truck scene.

Brown, who had experience with permanent food locations, said a mobile unit can “sweat it out for a couple of weeks,” and move locations if one corner is not proving lucrative. A permanent location usually is tied to a long-term agreement.

Brown also said Shine would have to consider locality. He stressed the importance of investing into the community to find out what people want.

Shine plans to construct a “pocket-park” in the area beside the building, which they said would enhance the neighborhood as well as the coffeehouse. The park would feature grass and trees as well as more sitting room for Shine’s customers.

Aarons, a self-described “Starbucks addict,” said she plans to support local businesses more, beginning with Shine. “I think it can help the community by keeping the public in the neighborhood. There’s a camaraderie with people that you see out walking.”

Shine is open Mon-Sat from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The February First Friday will feature a movie and Mamma Toledo’s food truck as a dessert partner.

Look for the ‘shine’ of the silver Airstream trailer every Saturday at the Central Farmer’s Market on the corner of Central Avenue and Northern Street between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. as well as at food truck events in Phoenix announced via Shine’s website.

Contact the reporter at tchawtho@asu.edu

Correction: Jan. 24, 2013

This article previously ran under the headline “Shine Coffee opens shop at downtown location.” It has been corrected to refer to the location as midtown rather than downtown.