Colectivo Coffee to bring coffee, craft beer to downtown Evanston


Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Colectivo Coffee, 716 Church St. The new location is opening Friday and will sell craft beer and food along with freshly made coffee.

Maddy Daum, Reporter

The days of searching for a seat in a crowded Evanston cafe may soon be in the past.

Colectivo Coffee, a chain based out of Milwaukee, will be adding itself to the city’s cafe scene when it opens its doors this Friday, following the construction of a cafe at 716 Church St.

Colectivo is going in the storefront previously occupied RadioShack on the corner of Church Street and Sherman Avenue. In addition to selling their own roasted coffee, the cafe will also sell food and craft beer.The chain is looking to provide more variety than traditional establishments, said Jeff Scott Sopko, who manages the Chicago-area Colectivo locations.

“The environment is not just coffee,” Sopko said. “You can come work, you can have a date, you can meet with friends and you can still stay until eight or nine at night. We will eventually serve beer so you can get a full range throughout the day, whereas I think coffee shops limit themselves to some coffee and pastries.”

Sopko said Colectivo is working to do outreach to support residents and other businesses in the area. Colectivo will be giving out coffee at the Downtown Evanston Tree Lighting on Dec. 8 and donating pastries to the Care for Real organization, which has a food pantry for the Chicago area.

“We just want to be a part of the community and we hope that other businesses will see us as a tool to grow their businesses as well,” Sopko said. “By bringing more foot-traffic to one area, it provides traffic for (other businesses) because each of us can only hold so many people. We try to work together with businesses to try and make sure we do our part.”

Paul Zalmezak, Evanston’s economic development manager, said the new location will be at the “epicenter of Evanston” and indicate to the marketplace that it is a strong area for business. Colectivo will join many other coffee shops in downtown Evanston — including Unicorn Cafe, Starbucks and Cupitol.

Zalmezak said there’s “no question” Colectivo will compete with its new neighbors.

“There is competition in the coffee space in Evanston and I imagine the longtimers are going to have to adapt and hopefully they will,” Zalmezak said. “I think there is room, since in the afternoon it can be challenging to find seating at Cupitol or Starbucks. It’s always jammed. ”

Communication junior Natalie Vazquez said she has been studying at Unicorn Cafe since the spring of her freshman year. Vazquez said Colectivo could gain more attention if it appears modern.

“I think maybe I’ll go and check out (Colectivo) just because of the hype of having a new place in the area,” Vazquez said. “I think for me it would mostly consist of what the space would look like. So if that ends up being a space where they would have (big windows) then maybe I would go there as well, but I don’t think I would completely switch.”

Sopko said that the Evanston location is one of the “most beautiful” stores Colectivo has because of the wood wrapped columns and two separate rooms.

“I think for us (Evanston) is just a neighborhood that we felt comfortable with that is a full neighborhood with a community and base,” Sopko said. “I think as we grow in the Chicago market we are finding neighborhoods that we really jive with.”

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