Thump Coffee, of Bend, Oregon, opened its second Denver outpost earlier this month on the ground floor of the new Denver Health building at 601 Broadway. After six years at 1201 East 13th Avenue in Capitol Hill, the company decided it was time to expand, bringing the grand total to six Thump stores — two in Denver and four in Bend. After more than a year of negotiations and construction, the coffee shop opened for business on April 6.
General manager Andy Lewis says the Cap Hill location has evolved into a European-style cafe, with lots of food and beverage options, which, according to Lewis, is a trend with coffee shops right now.
"With this [new] location, we wanted something smaller and more coffee-focused," the GM says. "We don't have any of the brunch options here, just baked goods, which are still baked at Cap Hill and delivered every morning."
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Lewis, a Denver native, played a lead role in designing the new place. He's never been to the original Oregon cafe, but says inspiration came from there. "Wood is important to us as a company, because the owner's family has several generations in logging in the Pacific Northwest," explains Lewis. While the Cap Hill location is clad head to toe in wood, Lewis decided to flip that for the new spot, creating wooden focal points, such as a coffee bar, bench and shelves. "I wanted simple things that would last and not look dated, and to keep it open because we have so much natural light."
Neighbors in the building include a Potbelly Sandwich Shop, a FedEx and another retail slot business still to be determined, while the upper floors house administrative offices for Denver Health. With business hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday, Lewis has noticed that the clientele changes on weekends from the usual weekday Denver Health staff visiting the shop.
"Denver Health wanted a coffee shop and wanted it to be local," says Lewis. In an area where everything from Broadway to Delaware Street is owned by Denver Health, while everything south of Sixth Avenue is residential, Lewis observes, "It's an under-coffeed area, if you don't count Starbucks — which we don't."
When Thump moved into Cap Hill in 2012, the owners intended to use the site as a roastery, but encountered problems trying to make it work in the old building, constructed in the early 1900s. So they ditched the effort and expanded the roasting program in Bend. In a brand new building, the challenges are slightly different; Thump is currently without Wi-Fi, although it will soon be installed. But the new spot boasts the same great coffee as Cap Hill, with the added bonus of free and unlimited parking in the attached garage.