A Kansas City coffee brand just got bolder, announcing the acquisition of another coffee company and plans to open an entirely new concept in the Crossroads.
Thou Mayest is now operating Quay Coffee — with its two locations in River Market and at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art — confirmed Bo Nelson, co-founder of Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters, on Monday.
“You can expect the same attention to detail in our environment and product as well as the inclusive, creative community our service encourages,” Nelson said. “We love the product and community that Quay is known for. It was a natural association with our growth trajectory and there was great brand alignment. There’s more to come on that as we continue listening to what people want it to become, and we aren’t done yet. Growth is good and this is just our warmup.”
Among the changes: “There will be more plants, I can promise that much,” he added.
Click here to read about Thou Mayest’s recently opened Cafe Equinox concept at Family Tree Nursery in Shawnee.
The former Quay Coffee shops also will see equipment modifications behind the bar; new roasts and seasonal beverages; more health-conscious fare on the pastry menu; and more options for alternative milks.
Cory Stipp first opened Quay Coffee with a partner in 2012 at 412 Delaware St. He and Dominic Scalise followed in December 2017 with the Nelson-Atkins shop, and further expanding brand awareness for Quay Coffee.
“We will be retaining all the smiling faces you know and love behind the coffee bar, but you may see some new ones as we merge both teams together,” Nelson said, noting the museum location will continue honoring 10 percent off to all Nelson-Atkins employees and members.
A third Thou Mayest site (in the works for months) is being launched in May — one block east of Thou Mayest’s original location in the Crossroads.
Click here to read about the decision to close the previous Thou Mayest flagship.
Dubbed “Thee Outpost,” the 2,000-square-foot shop will operate within Collective EX, a collaborative of artisans, designers and creatives at 519 E. 18th St. The space is orchestrated by Johnny Dawbarn, a veteran of Hallmark’s former innovation lab, who also designed Thou Mayest coffee bag packaging.
Thee Outpost’s concept is a curated version of “what you have come to love and know from our brand,” Nelson said, noting the best-of-the-best product selection will extend a new chapter of partnerships for Thou Mayest.
“Thee Outpost’s East Crossroads coffee shop will also house a dedicated laboratory for testing beverages and will be where we do all Thou Mayest research and development,” he said. “Thee Outpost and lab combination will be a highly creative environment that focuses on the spirit of collaboration and exploration as well as special releases and one-offs.”
Collective EX also is expected to launch in May, Nelson said.
“Collective Ex believes artisans do their most amazing work when they can work with others to discover and unfold what they truly stand for,” he said. “By expanding their personal story together, Collective EX artisans fuel new, tangible and meaningful experiences and dialogue — a unique process that yields remarkable creative outcomes.”
Click here to read more about Collective EX.
While the new Crossroads location will operate near the original Thou Mayest flagship store, it isn’t intended to take its place. Work on a second flagship elsewhere is ongoing, Nelson said.
Regardless of the specific geography, any new location will follow Thou Mayest’s ethos of evolving traditional coffee shops into more than physical spaces, he said.
“Creative transformation is creating a safe thriving environment that attracts people of all ages, walks of life, religions, orientations and socio-economic backgrounds. Wherever someone is in their daily journey, we hope to be able to meet them where they are and offer a seat at the bar,” Nelson said. “Simply put, it is giving people permission to dream, and then engage through action. It’s all about following your dream with action and what’s better to instigate that than coffee?”
Such transformation is entrepreneurial in nature because it creates a space that encourages idea-exchange, he added. Through the original Thou Mayest flagship, Nelson realized the business was solving a community problem — not a caffeine problem, he said, noting the retail space became a place for everything “from business meetings to First Friday parties, Tinder dates to hackathons to caffeine crawls.”
“We see a world that needs more cozy, plant-filled spaces buzzing with people collaborating and sharing ideas over excellent beverages,” he said.
Click here to read more about Bo Nelson’s philosophy on coffee shops.