Sometimes, even in the midst of a pandemic, timing is perfect. For good friends and business partners Katrina (Katie) Sargent and Alyxandria (Alyx) Schroeder, assuming ownership of Corridor Coffee in June 2020 felt almost serendipitous.
Sargent had recently graduated with her degree in business administration and was looking for her next great adventure. Schroeder, who has worked extensively in the coffee industry, dreamed of owning her own shop someday.
Already an institution on Grand Rapids’ West Side, Corridor Coffee had been in business since January 2018. “Assuming a business at any time is a risky venture, so, of course, doing so during a pandemic had us feeling a little more anxious than under normal circumstances,” Sargent said.
The previous owners, Max Friar and Melissa Somero, helped alleviate some of that worry by letting Sargent and Schroeder work behind the counter and on the shop’s social media accounts during the months leading up to the final sale of the business.
“Assuming a business at any time is a risky venture, so, of course, doing so during a pandemic had us feeling a little more anxious than under normal circumstances.”
Katrina (Katie) Sargent
Both the past and present owners recognized early on that making their goods available via delivery and online platforms was important, and this became even more essential as the COVID-19 pandemic imposed unprecedented dining restrictions. Customers now can order drinks and other products from Corridor Coffee on its website or through five major food delivery apps, in addition to dine-in, takeout and curbside services.
The positive experiences with the previous owners helped introduce Sargent and Schroeder to the neighborhood and influenced their business plan for Corridor Coffee. Sargent, curator of premium coffee and tea drinks, said “most of our syrups are made in-house, and we also partner with Michigan-based roasters such as CoffeeHaus, MudPenny and Uncommon Coffee Roasters to keep everything as local and as natural as possible.” Even the baked goods offered at Corridor Coffee are sourced locally from Field & Fire.
Sargent handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes operations and, currently, she’s working on establishing partnerships with local artists and businesses to create pop-up shops, art installations with receptions, classes and events to be held at Corridor Coffee. Fortunately, its setting is unique among coffee shops in that the shop has a generous upstairs space that can accommodate larger groups or gatherings; it is also available for rent at an affordable rate. There is plentiful free parking, as well.