The Riddled Raven Coffee Espresso, located at 8 S. Grande Avenue, opened two weeks ago. Its owners, lifelong Montrose residents Jamie and Sara Berndt, say their idea to sell fresh and bulk coffee is one that’s been brewing for years.
They first opened the Riddled Raven in 2011 at 24 S. Grande Ave., selling vinyl records, incense, tapestries, clothing accessories and jewelry. The business got by in a 500-square-foot space until the Berndts decided they wanted to expand, and applied for a small business loan from the Montrose Downtown Development Authority.
“Jamie and I have always wanted to open a coffee shop; we’ve always talked about it,” said Sara Berndt. “We opened the store about two years ago,” she said, and “it carried itself, but it never really had much potential for growth.”
The DDA loan was approved and the couple used the nearly $10,000 it offered to move into the store’s new 800 square-foot space nearby, at 8 S. Grande.
Adding to the store’s inventory of records, clothing, handbags, incense and tapestries, mostly imported from India and Indonesia, fair-trade organic coffee now complements a breakfast menu of waffles, bagels and grilled breakfast tacos.
“We get a lot of people in there looking around,” Jamie said of the store’s vinyl records collection, adding that they “really wanted to get into selling bulk bags of coffee” at an affordable price.
Wraps, paninis, salads and cold sandwiches are for available for lunch, and the entire menu features local milk and cheeses. Nearly all food items cost $5 or less, and are available for carryout.
As the lone coffee-shop on the west side of Main Street, the Berndts hope the Riddled Raven will attract both residents and commuters traveling through the area each day.
The couple’s DDA loan is the fourth small business loan approved by the DDA since the program began, according to its Executive Director Scott Shine.
The DDA and City of Montrose created the Downtown Opportunity Fund, and with it a process for businessowners to access low-interest capital targeted “towards improvement projects that enhance the safety, cleanliness, and appeal of downtown properties,” Shine said.
“We feel it’s a core component of our business development strategy to get bushiness owners and property owners access capital at low interest rates,” Shine said, so they can “reinvest in the downtown district.” He said that a recent contribution of $75,000 from U.S. Department of Agriculture has been secured for future projects.
Terms for a minimum loan of $2,500 and a maximum loan of $20,000 are available online at www.montrosedowntown.com.
The Berndts will celebrate opening their new space Friday, May 31, with a ribbon- cutting and celebration, beginning at noon.
The Riddled Raven is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact The Riddled Raven at 970/275-3265 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at Riddled Raven.