The greatest joy of working in coffee is not having access to industrial grade equipment or even the incessant supply of free espresso. Instead, it’s the interesting people you meet, serve, and work alongside of. Few people have made an impression on me like my first manager, Chuck Korson. Chuck and I worked together at a since rebranded café which straddled the line between specialty and commercial. Besides teaching me everything I know about wine and sheep milk cheese, Chuck showed me how to pursue excellence while recognizing one’s constraints. This passion for quality and service has stuck with me. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I heard Chuck had finally realized his dream of opening his own coffee shop in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. I haven’t been able to visit BLK \ MRKT yet, but I did get the chance to ask Chuck a few questions about his shop.
Many baristas dream of opening their own shop, how long have you been planning BLK \ MRKT?
It have been dreaming of my own shop for about 10 years, but the actual planning phase of the business took about a month, followed by an almost seven month build out.
The pictures we’ve seen look gorgeous. Did you work with a designer?
Thank you so much! I’m glad the shop photographs well. I think it is a pretty awesome space in person too. I didn’t work with a designer on the space (I would not have been able to afford one even if I wanted too). I did the layout and decorating myself, but had a ton of help putting it all together. I worked with an amazing carpenter, Eric Liggett, that did all of my casework, counters, and table tops. My dad and brother put in a ton of work to helping with the shelving and all the little details. They also were instrumental in helping turn the shipping container the Spirit was sent in into the communal table in the shop.