“First, I think if people want to escape-they should see a shrink… Swork is place to connect.”
Those are strong words to use to start off an article. But for Trisha, founder of Swork, the sentence fits perfectly if you’re all about community, family, and a great cup of coffee.
Swork is located in Eagle Rock, CA and has had its doors open since 2001 with a mission statement to create a creative and friendly neighborhood environment with great coffee and tasty baked goods to go with it. But their exotic coffees and delicious baked goods (try the blueberry or lemon poppyseed muffin if you’re in town) isn’t what separates them from the rest. The fact that they spent time focusing on the needs of parents by creating a children’s play area along with family friendly menu items speaks volumes within the words “true neighborhood community”. Even if the the kidspace, at first, was accidental.
“I think kids add flavor to swork. Eventually, even the hipsters have kids and while they may not appreciate Swork prior to kids-TRUST ME they will AFTER having them.”
Several months ago I had the privilege to interview Trisha, the founder of Swork, over the phone. Knowing about this place for several years, I wanted to know more about this gem and what sparked her interest to pursue a career in coffee. Instead of incorporating her answers within the article I decided to keep it raw and copy and paste our conversation. Listed below are the questions I gave her via email and her responses. By reading the responses below you can tell she is a woman of strength who speaks her mind, and has a love for people.
Question 1: What separates your coffee shop from others that are in the surrounding Los Angeles area? (as in what it has to offer that others may or may not have).
Answer: We have our own identity. It’s more European Swiss influence (my husband) He brings a lot of flavor to us.
Question 2: When was the first moment you realized you wanted to pursue a coffee venture? Also, what is the first memory you have when your company had directly impacted either a customer or yourself once it had successfully launched.
Answer: HERE IS OUR HISTORY: “When the creator of Swork relocated to Eagle Rock in May of 2000, she wanted a great cup of coffee. But after searching the surrounding area and discovering that her only option was the local donut shop–she nearly fainted. An entrepreneur, foodie & coffee junkie, her quest for the perfect cup consumed her. She eventually became so frustrated having to drive to Los Feliz for her fix, she vowed that when the opportunity presented itself, she would launch her own coffee bar. It would be a place for exquisitely roasted coffee, fresh baked confections and great people. Two months later, her vision collided at the corner of Colorado and Eagle Rock. With a signed lease in her hand and a business plan brewing, she traveled to Guatemala with her friends at Intelligentsia Coffee. There, she took a crash course in everything coffee–growing, picking, washing coffee beans to roasting, smelling and cupping them. The work of renovating her dream bar was grueling, sweaty and painstakingly slow. She enjoyed every minute of it, though, and on Saturday, January 27th, 2001, Swork Coffee opened its door to Eagle Rock” Also on the day we opened there was a line at the door. I knew we would be a success.
Question 3: These days, some coffee shops are a place to escape. What made you want to add a children’s playground when most coffee shops (if any) offer such a service? Do people complain about the children making too much noise or do they find it to not bother them while working or meeting up to hang out.
Answer: First, I think if people want to escape-they should see a shrink… Swork is place to connect. I feel people come here because they don’t want to be alone. Even though they may work in solitude, having someone next to them, motivates them somehow. People don’t care about the kidspace. They usually wear headphones anyway. However, the kidspace was accidental. While I was building my store I needed a place to park my two year old son. I sequestered him in the corner during construction. It worked out well. He was able to see me while I worked and I him. So I decided mid-design to include a space for little ones. I think kids add flavor to swork. Eventually, even the hipsters have kids and while they may not appreciate Swork prior to kids-TRUST ME they will AFTER having them.
Question 4: Finally, give me a couple thoughts on “Why coffee shops matter to the world?” and how Swork directly impacts those thoughts.
Answer: Because a coffee shop is a place to go to and be creative internally or extend your thoughts (or ear) to a stranger. People need that. We are so wrapped up in technology that sometimes we forget that in all of us-we also have an innate desire to witness life up close.
I love that last answer she gave me. “We also have a desire to witness life close up.” There’s so much truth to it. In a world where we are constantly being connected through technology we’re also in deeper danger to disconnect on a personal level. Community is something we all desire as humans. It’s how we feel loved. It’s how we feel connected. Trisha just helps make the process easier at swork with a good cup of joe to go along with it.