Tracey DeBold came up with the idea to turn a small city-owned property into a drive-thru coffee shop. She opened her first eatery five years ago: the Sweet Shack on Main St. in Blandinsville, which is open seasonally. Two years ago she expanded into Macomb, opening Sweet Shack 2.0 on Carroll Street.
DeBold said even though the Sweet Shack serves coffee, smoothies, and hot lunch items, most people think of it as an ice cream and frozen yogurt shop. “We just can’t get away from that stigma,” DeBold said. “But we are more than that.”
DeBold said both Sweet Shack locations will remain open, and she has her eye on another small, almost shack size property.
The city-owned building at the corner of where the train tracks intersect with Lafayette Street would become the Bold Brew House. It would feature limited seating outside.
DeBold told Tri States Public Radio they plan to roast their own coffee beans and sell signature drinks.
“We don’t want to the Starbucks thing obviously because that’s Starbucks and you can’t compete with their name. But we do want to definitely compete with a great flavor, you know, beans that aren’t burnt. Beans that aren’t bitter. Something that people want to come back for and they don’t have to get out of their car.”
DeBold contacted the city about renting the property, which has been used by a local photographer as a studio. Mayor Mike Inman told Tri States Public Radio the photographer renting that space was on a month-to-month lease and was not interested in signing a long term agreement.
DeBold is offering to pay the city $300 a month for the property, which is a $100 more than the photographer was paying. The Macomb City Council must still approve the two-year tenant agreement. No one on the council has publicly voiced any opposition to the proposal.
DeBold said the property is in good shape and only needs minor renovations. She said the coffee shop could be open by mid-March.
The property shares a parking lot with what is in the process of becoming Forgotonnia Brewing. DeBold said she's met with the owners of that business to talk about opportunities to collaborate.