Meet Sarah Belzile – Phoenix Coffee
Owner: Sarah Belzile
Established in Coventry Village: 2007
# Of Staff: 10
Q. Tell us about Phoenix Coffee. What do you offer? What makes your locations unique?
A. We are a uniquely Cleveland company. We’ve been roasting coffee in Cleveland for over 20 years, building community and coffee culture in the process. We operate four cafés in the Cleveland area and roast coffee for over 100 wholesale customers. Our coffee director travels the world in search of the best beans from farmers with experience, skill and ethical practices.
Q. Why did you choose Coventry?
A. Coventry is a unique Cleveland neighborhood, with history, deep roots, and committed neighbors.
Q. You took over Phoenix Coffee in 1998, tell us your story of entrepreneurship.
A. I slept my way to the top! Carl, my former husband, started the business, and gave it to me in 1998.
I have worked at Phoenix my entire adult life. I always think that I will go and do something else, but it is such a joy to create a little terrarium of health, and family, and relationships, that I continue to reinvest and reinvolve myself in this special community.
Q. Which member of your staff has been with you the longest? What special skills do they bring to your business?
A. At our Coventry store, Jeremy has been with us since 2006. He wins the “revolving door” award because he has left Phoenix and came back several times. Customers love Jeremy because of his charm. We love Jeremy because he has an exceptional thoroughness, attention to detail, and he really understands Phoenix values.
Many of us at Phoenix are introverts, even though we’re in customer service jobs, so you end up with people like Jeremy who are very self-reflective, yet also are able to reach out and connect in a genuine and thoughtful way with community members.
Q. Why is shopping independent important?
A. I think it’s important to shop small because it makes for gifts with more character and more of a sense of place…. which really means soul.
Local gifts have more soul, and they also contribute more to the local economy. Every dollar spent at a local business generates three times more local economic activity than a dollar spent at a big box store.
Q. Tell us about the 2015 Barista Calendar everyone is buzzing about!
A. The Cleveland Barista Calendar is a collaborative project of Cleveland specialty coffee shops in support the work of the Cafe Femenino Foundation.
The calendar features thirty baristas from Phoenix Coffee Company, The Root Cafe, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Gypsy Beans & Bakery, Loop Cafe, Dewey’s Coffee, Katz Club Diner, and both Erie Island Coffee locations, the Cleveland Baristas Calendar 2015 showcases the character and sparkle of the baristas in the growing Cleveland coffee scene.
Cleveland-native photographer Angelo Merendino shot the calendar, produced by Sarah Antonik, at Peter Larson Photography at W.78th Street Studios in Cleveland.
All production costs for the calendar were generously underwritten by La Marzocco, Caruso’s Coffee Roasters, Torani, Serengeti Trading and Jakprints to enable all proceeds from the calendar to go to Cafe Femenino.
Cafe Femenino, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all-volunteer organization provides funding to support grant requests from women in coffee producing regions around the world. The foundation helps promote the integration of women coffee farmers into social, political and occupational organizations by providing grants that help support the women’s efforts and enhance their status within the community..
Q. Give us a few suggestions for unique holiday gifts shoppers can purchase at Phoenix Coffee.
A. Phoenix Coffee hoodies! A pound of freshly roasted Holiday Blend, or a glass ornament filled with coffee beans
Thanks to Sarah for taking the time to share with us. Check back here Monday or become a fan of our Facebook page right now. Each weekday this holiday season, we’re introducing you to the independent business owners that help make Coventry Village a great place to live, work, shop, dine and play.
Photos by Suzuran Photography. Copyright Coventry Village Special Improvement District & Suzuran Photography.