The coworking space and coffee shop caters to a changing workforce
Located at 10650 Roe Avenue is a most ingenious hybrid—a coffee shop and coworking center all delightfully wrapped into one. As its name implies, ecafé offers an ideal blend of social and professional opportunities for mobile and home-based workers.
However, it was an idea that percolated for years before coming to fruition. With some two decades in the executive suites business, David Rayl saw firsthand how a changing workforce warranted a new work environment. He spoke to his wife, Cathy, and daughter, Lisa Dimond, about the distinctive needs of this evolving career set. With Dimond’s background in the restaurant industry, it didn’t take long before a family business plan whipped into formation. Their refreshing venture, ecafé, opened in Johnson County this past fall.
“Office space is expensive and working from home distracting,” Rayl says. “At ecafé, we’re trying to give mobile workers and home-based professionals a better place to work. Coffee shops and restaurants aren’t always the best environment in which to work. And they typically don’t want you working there because it takes tables away from those who are there to purchase food and drinks. But workers like the amenities of coffee shops and restaurants, and that’s why we decided to combine a cowork center with a full-service coffee shop.”
The unique setup has a great communal vibe, and coworking allows people to meet and collaborate with other professionals and expand their business network, Rayl adds.
ecafé offers a public side, where everyone is welcome to gather and enjoy all the benefits of a specialty coffee house—complete with drive-thru—and a private side, where monthly memberships or daily passes can be purchased. A fully equipped conference room can be rented by the hour or day, and a business center offers copying, printing, scanning, faxing, mailboxes, postal services and office products. It truly serves as a one-stop shop for all working—and caffeine—needs.
“So many workers need a flexible workspace in which they can come and go, meet clients and not be tied down to a four-walled office,” Dimond says. “And what better way to bring people into the coworking space—and help feed and fuel them—than a coffee shop?”
The one-of-a-kind ecafé serves specialty coffee from PT’s Coffee Roasting Company, smoothies and some truly scrumptious breakfast and lunch fare—including a large array of gluten-free items.
“I have celiac disease, and I know how hard it is finding good, gluten-free food, especially pastries,” Dimond says. “In fact, over half of our menu is gluten-free, and we’re happy to accommodate gluten-free requests for pastries, breakfast, lunch and snacks.”
As tempting as the menu is, ecafé’s design aesthetic is equally appetizing. The modern space is spacious and clean, using vibrant colors and lots of light to keep workers energized. And there are some truly picturesque nature views from the work pods.
It’s a difference that’s resonated with area workers. As a business consultant, Jennifer Kempfer-Norris helps create solutions and systems for small businesses. So it seems only fitting that she relies on ecafé as the hub for her business operations, both for meeting clients one-on-one and for networking events.
“I love working out of ecafé because it’s owned and run by a local family and their location is convenient for my clients,” Kempfer-Norris says. “The building itself is incredibly clean and fun, but the staff always makes me feel like a friend. I’m not just a cup of coffee to them. They go out of their way to make sure I’m comfortable and well-taken care of—you might even say a little spoiled. They go over and above what I would expect from any other café, even going so far as refilling my personal water bottle when there’s a station where I could do it myself.”
The friendly atmosphere, attentive employees, and delicious drinks and treats are just part of what makes ecafé an exciting addition to the Johnson County business scene.
“It’s nice to make people happy with something as simple as a cup of coffee or a delicious pastry,” Dimond says. “And to help professionals further their own businesses in a vibrant, inspiring setting is a true joy.”