Huckleberry joined the coffee scene in 2011, opening its shop at 4031 North Pecos in 2012, but it hasn’t added a new cafe since its debut at the Dairy Block in 2018. The company has been expanding in other ways, though, as it focused on establishing strong partnerships with farmers and wholesale customers.
With the addition of the two new cafes, which opened within weeks of each other, Huckleberry now has 56 employees. “Part of our ability to grow is because we have this amazing staff of managers and general managers and directors who can and want to take on that work,” says Goedman.
When the Huck team learned in June that Amazon-owned Allegro was shuttering, Goedman’s interest piqued. Originally a hardware store, the building was home to Allegro’s cafe and roasting operations. Huckleberry roasts out of Athmar Park, so it didn’t have use for the entire space, but the location at 4040 Tennyson Street was too good to pass up.
“There’s a lot of big national development happening on Tennyson. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but Eli and I like the idea of having two well-established, well-liked operators put a flag in the ground on an iconic corner in the middle of Tennyson street,” Goedman explains.
Eli is Eli Cox, owner of men’s clothing store Berkeley Supply Co., who happened to be one of the first customers at the original Huckleberry and was looking to expand his company at the same time that Huck was thinking of taking over on Tennyson. The collaboration made sense, and a partnership was born.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to essentially inherit the space and its built-in customer base,” says Goedman. Besides the cafe and clothing store, the Huckleberry on Tennyson is the brand’s first with a full kitchen. In addition to “Huck Fare” like burritos and toasts, it also offers “Tennyson Bites” — an Australian-style breakfast/lunch menu with such items as a golden milk parfait, savory Benedicts with honey-smoked salmon, a bean and avocado tostada, and a buckwheat gallete.
“We wanted to include stuff that’s delicious, relatively simple and straightforward, and substantial enough for breakfast, lunch or a late-afternoon bite to eat,” Goedman notes.
In Baker, a smaller space offers a cozy, intimate vibe, and its menu reflects that. Without a kitchen, the food menu is limited to standard Huck Fare in addition to coffee and tea options. As at the other three Huckleberry locations, the space is brightened up with murals by artist Olive Moya.
After operating at 277 Broadway Avenue for thirteen years, Sugar Bakeshop closed this spring when owner Natalie Slevin decided to shift her focus to building her vegan Popster business. Because the bakery was one of Huckleberry’s wholesale customers, news of its closing was bittersweet for Goedman, but also an opportunity.
“We love Baker as a neighborhood,” he explains. “We’ve been wanting to have a bigger presence there for some time, and we love that it’s heavy residential and similar to the Pecos shop. The regulars are going to be folks we see every day; we’re meeting their dogs and babies. Those are the types of relationships that we love building — meaningful, impactful relationships that let us become part of the community. ”
Being part of a community often means having difficult conversations, which Huckleberry is dedicated to doing. One particularly tough but important conversation it continues to have is about prices.
“Our coffee drinks are expensive comparably…but we’re fine with that. It’s an intentional move to be the type of company that’s honestly paying a wage that people can live off of in an expensive city. We’re paying a wage for people who want to make coffee a career,” Goedman says. “We’re a people-driven company. We invest in people.”
It’s also dedicated to paying a fair price for its green coffees and building sustainable, reliable business partnerships with growers. “A cup costs what it costs and is priced where it needs to be to allow us to do business in the way that we want,” adds Goedman. This shakes out to around $4.50 for a 12-ounce drip coffee.
Huckleberry hopes to open a fifth cafe in Wheat Ridge in the spring of 2023.
Huckleberry’s locations in Baker (277 Broadway) and Sunnyside (4301 Pecos Street) are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Its Dairy Block (1800 Wazee Street) and Tennyson (4040 Tennyson Street) outposts are open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit huckleberryroasters.com.