The Sellers had been working in the direction of a dream for greater than two years — opening up a espresso store in West Columbia. That dream will quickly change into a actuality, with the March opening of Brickhouse Espresso and Tea, inside meal prep firm PRIMAL.
Plans for Brickhouse started whereas Akera Sellers was nonetheless in graduate faculty in New York. Frequenting a restaurant in Harlem, he started to fall in love with espresso and the concept of proudly owning his personal cafe. When he completed his diploma in 2018, he moved to South Carolina to affix his spouse, Alexis, and opened up a espresso beans enterprise in 2019.
For 2 years, the Sellers bought espresso beans and tea leaves on-line and at native markets whereas trying to find someplace to open a bodily location. When COVID-19 hit, discovering a spot to function grew to become troublesome.
“After I began writing the marketing strategy, after which when the pandemic kicked off, I used to be like, ‘Man, I am not gonna be capable to do that,’ however now this is the chance,” Akera stated.
Whereas the pandemic sophisticated the plan, it was in the end what led to the chance for the Sellers.
PRIMAL — which was previously often called Primal Gourmand Kitchen and Market — was hit onerous by the pandemic, in line with proprietor Greg Martin. At the start of this 12 months, he introduced he would quickly be closing the enterprise due to staffing and provide chain points.
That closure lasted about two weeks and opened the door for Alexis and Akera, who had not too long ago left his job in company finance to pursue the espresso store full time. The 2 companies have been linked by PRIMAL’s basic supervisor, Jennifer Boyd, who had labored with Akera previously.
“When Greg talked about we have been in search of somebody to do their brick and mortar espresso store right here, Brickhouse had been in search of fairly a while for an area … They’re able to go and it simply fell proper into place,” stated Boyd.
Martin ditched Primal’s scorching bar throughout his closure and invited the Sellers to function their then-nomadic espresso enterprise within the area. Sooner or later, Martin hopes to herald one or two extra distributors, just like the Sellers, to arrange store in PRIMAL’s area to provide smaller companies a spot to function.
“That is the place we will step in, and, at the least for one or two individuals, be that capacity to get into the retail market with out having to make that large funding. That is principally like a everlasting commissary for less than like 4 individuals,” Martin stated.
Internet hosting one other enterprise inside his personal isn’t a wholly new idea for Martin.
Earlier than the Sellers, native chef Bryan Pierce Bowers, who owns Dorsia Pasta Co., had been promoting his pasta at PRIMAL and educating pasta-making courses within the area. Sooner or later, Martin hopes to accommodate one other complementary enterprise, whereas additionally internet hosting meals courses and personal dinners.
Brickhouse joins a sparse unbiased West Columbia espresso scene. The Hideout in Weco opened final 12 months, however there are little different choices for espresso. In close by Cayce, Piecewise Espresso and a Starbucks function as nicely.
Primal and Brickhouse’s shared development additionally helps additional bolster a enterprise district that has grown quickly within the final 5 years. D’s Wings moved from Cayce to the world and Savage Craft Ale Works opened a 12 months in the past.
“I foresee us persevering with to develop,” stated Joseph Dickey, a West Columbia councilman, “We have come a great distance, however in doing so, it hasn’t modified what makes the town distinctive and that is what we wish to maintain onto as we develop.”
Akera and Alexis’s enterprise doesn’t fall too distant from the place they began out — on the metropolis’s Assembly Road Artisan Market, which started in 2019 and operates on Saturday mornings.
And Brickhouse is the second artisan market vendor to open up a brick and mortar spot. Within the spring of final 12 months, Seminole Candle Firm, opened up a bodily location in West Columbia.
Brickhouse joins a string of current companies in and round Columbia which have opened up brick and mortar spots after working by different means, by way of meals vehicles and at native markets.
In early January, The Donut Man opened up in Columbia’s Vista after working as a meals truck and farmers market tent for years. In February, Chubby’s Burgers and Brewhouse opened up in Blythewood after beginning as a meals truck in the course of the pandemic.
Brickhouse is positioned at 725 Assembly St., West Columbia and can open on March 7 with tentative hours of seven a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday by way of Friday and eight a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.