Two Rivers Coffee, an Arvada staple for the past decade, recently underwent a name change. It's now Sweet Bloom Arvada after a merge with the nationally acclaimed Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters. Eric Yochim of Two Rivers and Andy Sprenger of Sweet Bloom decided to combine their businesses into one.
In 2010, Yochim was a general manager at a fine-dining restaurant, but frequented the Novo Coffee outpost at 7745 Wadsworth Boulevard. "That Novo was my daily neighborhood shop, and it's where I fell in love with coffee," he recalls. Novo founder Herb Brodski told Yochim that Novo was moving out of the retail location, but that the community needed someone who could give it the attention and care it deserved. "He told me that I should buy the shop from them and be that person." Three and a half weeks later, Yochim walked into the cafe for his daily coffee and walked out as the owner, and he's continued to run the shop with the goal of serving high-quality coffee.
When Sprenger started Sweet Bloom Coffee Roaster in 2013, he approached Yochim as a potential wholesale account. "It was actually huge for us, having an account like Two Rivers so early on," Sprenger explains. "It really helped get Sweet Bloom launched." That business relationship blossomed into friendship.
"[We] became quick friends and comrades in the industry," recalls Yochim. "We'd get together to talk about business and life, and a couple years ago we had this idea and started talking about merging — what that would look like and if it was a good idea. We sort of left it on the table as an open-ended discussion for years...but this last July, it came back up. It just made sense for our growing companies...bringing our collective talents together. Now Andy can focus on green-to-roasted, and I can focus on roasted-to-retail."
At the beginning of September, Sweet Bloom made the following announcement on social media:
One of our best friends in the world of coffee is Two Rivers (in Arvada, Colorado). They are, in fact, such good friends that we’ve decided to partner! We are so excited to build on each other’s strengths, and we’ll be just that much better equipped to source, roast and serve beautiful coffee to our wholesale and retail customers. Yes, Two Blooms and Sweet Rivers sound nice, but we are moving forward as Sweet Bloom.
After a game of rock-paper-scissors, the duo decided to keep the Sweet Bloom name because of its national reputation. "Logistically, it was easier to run one brand," says Yochim. "Losing the Two Rivers name wasn't such a hit to our reputation, because the heart and vision are still intact.
Two Rivers' roasting operation moved off site a year ago, which left room for more seating and an even more seamless transition. All of the roasting for this location now takes place at the Sweet Bloom flagship location, 1619 Reed Street in Lakewood, which recently received a facelift, giving its tasting room more of a cafe feel. "We still call the Lakewood location our tasting room, as the menu offerings are a bit more limited than at our other cafe(s) and focus more on the ability to try our entire lineup of coffees on both hand brew and espresso, all while getting to experience the inner workings of our roasting, production and training facilities," explains Yochim.
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"We are rolling things out gently," he adds. "It's not a massive takeover, just two small businesses working together to do something great."
"I've already found it to be a great help," says Sprenger. "We have strengths in different areas of coffee; I feel weight coming off my shoulders, which is huge after six years."
Their first fully joint venture after the Arvada coffeeshop merger is a cafe coming to Westminster in the first quarter of next year. Sprenger and Yochim are targeting the newly developed downtown Westminster, where the Westminster Mall was torn down in 2011.
"Andy and I have a lot of space to dream right now for the future, to grow the business in a sustainable means," Yochim concludes.