For Keyo’s first business blog feature, it’s only appropriate to start with our pilot merchant, Cup & Spoon at 2415 W North Ave in Chicago.

I sat down with the owner Rosie Quasarano to get a peek behind the scenes. Rosie was born and raised in Michigan and has called Chicago home for the past 7 years and counting. She started her business on passion and the backing of an Indiegogo campaign almost three years ago and has not slowed down since.

[grve_single_image image="1325"]
[grve_single_image image="1324"]

Alan: What was your first job?

Rosie: I’ve always been a hustler. I was a babysitter at age 12. I was one of six kids. The neighbors always trusted me at a young age to take care of their kids, so I had a pretty good business going.

My first job in coffee was as a barista in college. I’ve always loved coffee. I remember stealing sips of my mom’s coffee from a very young age, like even when I was younger than ten. I’ve always loved the taste of it, so that kind of got me into it, and then I was always drawn to the community aspect of a café.

 

Alan: How did Cup & Spoon come to be?

Rosie: When working in coffee in college as well as working at a small art studio, I fell in love with the idea of one day owning my own business. I thought coffee would be a great way to bring art and people together. I always imagined that it was something we would do years from now, like maybe one day retiring and doing it. Then, things just started lining up so that I could do it sooner in my neighborhood.

 

Alan: Did you have any mentors before going into business?

Rosie: I definitely talked with a lot of small business owners in Chicago. Even by just setting up one meeting and chatting with them, I gleaned a lot of information and insight.

Lynn from An Orange Moon is a great boss-lady mentor; she has a really clear idea of what her mission is for the business and who her audience is. She does a great job of making connections with other businesses in the area. Lynn is amazing! We call her the goddess of WOW (West of Western Business District) because she galvanized everyone and brings everyone together.

Coffee wise, it’s been awesome to see Ipsento grow. I’ve lived in the area for 7 years, so seeing it go from a single café to having 2 locations now and really expanding its roasting operations has been inspiring.

 

Alan: What does a typical work day look like?

Rosie: I’ve realized that no two weeks are the same, even no two days for that matter, so it really changes. When I first opened, I was doing the tally marks on the wall. It was like fifty-five days in a row was my bender for working every day almost all day. Now, I can split my time between still working behind the counter but then also working on aspects of growing the business and getting things organized.

 

I really like the mix of both front and back of housework. Before the shop, I worked in advertising on the creative writing side, so I loved the collaboration and the team surrounding it, so I love being behind the bar and getting to know customers and their stories and then, outside of that, having more time now to grow the social media presence and the creative output. There is a lot more time for that now, too.

 

I’m still scrubbing the toilets, but I’m not above anything at the shop, and I think that’s what makes it like everyone feels that way where they all chip in from new drink creations to the manual grunt work.

 

Alan: What do you do for fun?

Rosie: What did I used to do for fun? HAHAHA. When I have the time, I love running, I’ve done a couple marathons, yoga is amazing, and trying to go see shows.

 

Alan: What kind of music do you listen to?

Rosie: It’s changed over the years, when I was young I was into more of the Rock scene, ozzfest days. Now I’m more into things a bit more easy listening, indie bands. I Love Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear.

 

Alan: When did you get your first cell phone?

Rosie: I actually inherited my first cell phone from my older sister at the age of 19. It was a brick Nokia with a ladybug cover.

 

Alan: Where do you see technology going in the future?

Rosie: I curious and love technology; I’m not always the earliest adopter, but I’m always intrigued about where it’s going. In the future, I see a lot less device based things, kind of like where GoogleGlass was trying to go. A lot more customized per user and served up in a way that is custom or personable.

 

Alan: What does Chicago mean to you?

Rosie: I love the history of Chicago, the stockyards, industry; it’s a hard-working city. I think there’s a lot of great businesses that can open here. Chicago is a big city but with the shop and getting to know my neighbors it’s like Mayberry, small town feel with big city perks. It’s attainable to open a business here. I lived in New York previously and the idea of opening a business there didn’t even seem like an option.

 

Well, we are happy you chose Chicago Rosie Cup & Spoon; it is a fantastic blend of coffee, community, art, and culture, and we are honored to have you as a merchant!

[grve_single_image image="1305"]
[grve_single_image image="1328"]
[grve_single_image image="1327"]
[grve_single_image image="1326"]